Harry Potter v Russian despot: JK Rowling hits back after Putin's cancel culture rant

25 March 2022, 14:00 | Updated: 25 March 2022, 16:07

Vladimir Putin has defended JK Rowling
Vladimir Putin has defended JK Rowling. Picture: Alamy

By Emma Soteriou

Harry Potter author JK Rowling took to social media to reaffirm her stance on the conflict following Russian president Vladimir Putin's bizarre rant linking her to "cancel culture."

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The author said: "Critiques of Western cancel culture are possibly not best made by those currently slaughtering civilians for the crime of resistance, or who jail and poison their critics. #IStandWithUkraine."

One Ukrainian user replied to the tweet saying, "Love from Ukraine!", which Ms Rowling responded with: "And love back to you."

Mr Putin accused the West of trying to "cancel" Russia and its culture - including the works of world renowned composers such as Pyotr Tchaikovsky, Dmitry Shostakovich and Sergei Rachmaninov.

He said: "Today they are trying to cancel a whole thousand-year culture - our people.

"They are banning Russian writers and books."

He then turned to JK Rowling, saying she had been cancelled over her stance on sex and gender.

Speaking about the Harry Potter author, Mr Putin said: "They cancelled Joanne Rowling recently - the children’s author, her books are published all over the world - just because she didn’t satisfy the demands of gender rights."

He continued: "They are now trying to cancel our country. I'm talking about the progressive discrimination of everything to do with Russia."

Continuing in his televised speech, Mr Putin compared "cancel culture" to when Nazis tried to burn books in the 1930s.

He said: "We remember the footage when they were burning books.

"It is impossible to imagine such a thing in our country and we are insured against this thanks to our culture.

"And it's inseparable for us from our motherland, from Russia, where there is no place for ethnic intolerance, where for centuries representatives from dozens of ethnic groups have been living together."

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JK Rowling has been embroiled in a transgender row for several years, having previously claimed trans women athletes should not complete in women's sports and criticised an article for avoiding using the word "women", and instead opting for "people who menstruate".

She responded to backlash on Twitter in 2020 saying: "I respect every trans person's right to live any way that feels authentic and comfortable to them.

"I'd march with you if you were discriminated against on the basis of being trans.

"At the same time, my life has been shaped by being female. I do not believe it's hateful to say so."

She has also offered to help those caught in the Ukraine conflict, saying she will match donations "to provide urgent supplies and care for children in orphanages Ukraine".