Russian President Vladimir Putin complained in recent televised remarks that the West was attempting to “cancel” Russia — and he compared that to the backlash leveled against “Harry Potter” author J.K. Rowling over her defense of biological women.
“They canceled 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,” Putin said.
Putin cites author JK Rowling as evidence the West engages in “cancel culture” pic.twitter.com/xv2EQz1baE
— philip lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) March 25, 2022
The famed children’s author has faced harsh criticism from transgender activists for her staunch defense of biological women and her refusal to back down from claims that policies aimed at validating those who are transgender often have the unfortunate consequence of erasing or even harming women.
“The law @NicolaSturgeon‘s trying to pass in Scotland will harm the most vulnerable women in society: those seeking help after male violence/rape and incarcerated women. Statistics show that imprisoned women are already far more likely to have been previously abused,” Rowling tweeted regarding a “Self ID” law that would allow people to self-identify their gender.
“Multiple women’s groups have presented well-sourced evidence to @NicolaSturgeon’s government about the likely negative consequences of this legislation for women and girls, especially the most vulnerable. All has been ignored. If the legislation is passed and those consequences ensue as a result, the @SNP govt can’t pretend it wasn’t warned,” she added.
In response to Rowling’s comments, she has often been labeled a TERF (Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminist) and attempts have been made to “cancel” her.
As Vice reported:
Putin compared the criticism Rowling has received for her transphobic politics to a great variety of perceived indignities to the Russian people: the apparent removal of Russian writers and composers from undefined places in the West, Nazi book burnings, and even America dropping the nuclear bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki during World War II.
“We remember that footage when they were burning books,” Putin said. “It’s impossible to imagine such a thing in our country. We’re insured against these things thanks to our culture.”
Rowling jumped into the fray then, tweeting, “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.”
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 https://t.co/aNItgc5aiW
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) March 25, 2022
In addition to referencing Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine, Rowling mentioned Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny. Navalny, who survived being poisoned with a nerve agent — which he blames on the Kremlin — was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in a penal colony for an alleged parole violation. He has since been sentenced to an additional nine years after being convicted for fraud and contempt of court.
The Associated Press reported:
A Russian court on Tuesday convicted top opposition leader Alexei Navalny of fraud and contempt of court, sentencing him to nine more years in prison in a move that was seen as an attempt to keep President Vladimir Putin’s biggest foe behind bars for as long as possible.
The new sentence follows a year-long crackdown by Putin on Navalny’s supporters, other opposition activists and independent journalists in which authorities appear eager to stifle all dissent.
In addition to imprisoning Navalny, Russian officials have labeled his supporters extremists, forcing many of them to flee the country to avoid being slapped with criminal charges as well.