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John Cleese is ‘baffled’ by the criticism JK Rowling has faced since her anti-trans tirade

Josh Milton June 19, 2020
Actor John Cleese (R) expressed his "bafflement" over the controversy surrounding JK Rowling's views on trans rights. (Samir Hussein/WireImage/Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

Actor John Cleese (R) expressed his "bafflement" over the controversy surrounding JK Rowling's views on trans rights. (Samir Hussein/WireImage/Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

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.

“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.

Although, some users expressed their fatigue at the need for them to “educate” people considering that Google has existed since 1998.

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.

Hachette JK Rowling in conversation
JK Rowling. (Ben Pruchnie/Getty Images)

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.

Harry Potter readers are now cutting ties with the franchise altogether or working to reimagine the wizarding world without the original creator.

More: Harry Potter, JK Rowling, john cleese, Trans, trans rights, Twitter

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