John Cleese is ‘baffled’ by the criticism JK Rowling has faced since her anti-trans tirade
John Cleese has admitted he is “baffled” by the seizing controversy that has ensued since JK Rowling commented on trans lives.
The 80-year-old Monty Python star tweeted his confusion around the “debate” Friday morning (June 19), and asked users to enlighten him.
It comes after Rowling left countless rattled by her abrupt anti-trans tirade on Twitter and her lengthy follow-up essay, which prompted many to decry the writer’s views on sex and gender.
“I’m baffled by the debate over [JK Rowling],” Cleese wrote.
I'm baffled by the debate over JKR
Am I right in thinking that if I tomorrow declare myself to be a woman, then anyone who doesn't accept that must hate me ?
This is a genuine request for information, even if the question itself seems odd to many older people ?
— John Cleese (@JohnCleese) June 19, 2020
“Am I right in thinking that if I tomorrow declare myself to be a woman, then anyone who doesn’t accept that must hate me?
“This is a genuine request for information, even if the question itself seems odd to many older people?”
An array of trans community leaders, advocacy groups and allies all sought to educate the actor.
If you’re a woman and truly know that’s true we should respect you enough to believe you when you tell us who you are. That’s the loving, kind and even thought it might not seem like it to you at first, truthful thing to do.
— Ian Boothby (@IanBoothby) June 19, 2020
How would you feel if there was a very powerful group of media types attempting to use the government to dictate the ways in which you can be a man? I think a normal person would at least feel perturbed at that, no?
— Katelyn Burns (@transscribe) June 19, 2020
Thank you for laying out the facts so clearly and concisely.
— Sandy M (@SandyColMc) June 19, 2020
Although, some users expressed their fatigue at the need for them to “educate” people considering that Google has existed since 1998.
I’ve organized plenty of events for women over 30 years and I have never excluded trans women from them. I’ve never had a problem with trans women in those groups. Don’t speak about what “women” want because you don’t speak for us. Neither does JKR.
— Sara Amis (@GollyMollyB) June 19, 2020
JK Rowling has fielded criticism for her views on trans rights for two years.
Over the last two years, trans Harry Potter fans have watched nervously as Rowling moved from her stoop-sitting approach to trans rights toward, more recently, becoming a full-on commentator.
Concerns were first seeded in 2018 when the writer “liked” a tweet that referred to trans women as “men in dresses”.
Rowling’s representatives sought to clarify amid the row that this was simply a “middle-aged moment”. However since then, her engagement with trans topics has increased.
She went onto express explicit support for a British researcher who filed a lawsuit against her former employer claiming she was discriminated against for her anti-trans views.
The high-water moment came when Rowling launched into a string of tweets that ridiculed trans-inclusive language, followed swiftly by a dense essay outlining her opinions on sex and gender.
In the 3,700-word blog post, she wrote: “I refuse to bow down to a movement that I believe is doing demonstrable harm in seeking to erode ‘woman’ as a political and biological class and offering cover to predators.”
Since the saga, the holy trinity of Harry Potter’s film franchise – Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint – all denounced and distanced themselves from Rowling, raising morale for trans fans.