JK Rowling responds after Putin ‘references her in speech about cancel culture’

The author said the Russian president was not in a position to critique Western culture.

25 March 2022

JK Rowling has responded to Vladimir Putin after he reportedly referenced her during a speech condemning “cancel culture” in the West.

Multiple media outlets reported the Russia president said the Harry Potter author had been cancelled “because she did not satisfy the demands of gender rights”.

He made the comments during what reports say was a televised meeting with Russian cultural figures, during which he also claimed Western countries were trying to cancel the works of composers Tchaikovsky, Shostakovich and Rachmaninoff.

Sharing an article about incarcerated Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny on Twitter, Rowling wrote: “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.”

The writer also shared the hashtag #IStandWithUkraine.

In a subsequent tweet, she detailed the work her Lumos charity is doing in the country.

“Children trapped in orphanages and other institutions are exceptionally vulnerable right now,” she said.

“Thank you so, so much to everyone who has already donated to Lumos’s Ukraine appeal.”

Rowling said she was personally matching all donations to the Lumos emergency appeal up to £1 million.

Putin is reported as saying: “They cancelled Joanne Rowling recently, the children’s author.

“Her books are published all over the world. Just because she did not satisfy the demands of gender rights.

“They are trying to cancel our country. I am talking about the progressive discrimination of everything to do with Russia – this trend that is unfolding in a number of Western states.”

Rowling in June 2020 wrote an essay explaining how she was partly motivated to speak about transgender issues because of her experience of domestic abuse and sexual assault.

Critics have accused the writer of being transphobic, an allegation she strongly denies.

Her critics have included Harry Potter stars Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint.

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