Putin Drags JK Rowling Into Latest 'Bizarre Rant'

Leader says both Russia, 'Harry Potter' author have been 'canceled'—Rowling for her trans views
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 25, 2022 12:12 PM CDT
Putin Drags JK Rowling Into Latest 'Bizarre Rant'
Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a video meeting with in Moscow on Friday.   (Mikhail Klimentyev, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

It's not terribly surprising that Vladimir Putin might try to control the narrative on his country's invasion of Ukraine by painting Russia as some kind of victim. And he did just that during a Friday address on state TV, touching on the concept of "cancel culture" and making an unexpected comparison to a famous author. "They are now trying to cancel our country," he said in his speech, per The Hollywood Reporter. Putin added: "I'm talking about the progressive discrimination of everything to do with Russia," before comparing this supposed cancellation to the Nazis' book-burning campaign of the 1930s.

Sky News notes the Russian leader's "bizarre rant" seemed to be referring to the canceling by Western nations of certain events that featured Russian performers or artists, in response to the war in Ukraine. Putin also claimed "they" were also banning Russian books and authors, which then led to an out-of-left-field mention that left some scratching their heads. "Just because she didn't satisfy the demands of gender rights," Harry Potter author JK Rowling has suffered the same cancel-culture fate, Putin asserted, per Deadline. Putin's reference was apparently to the heat that Rowling has taken over her controversial tweets on the transgender community.

But while Putin may have thought Rowling might appreciate the acknowledgment, the author shot back a thanks-but-no-thanks tweet in response shortly after his remarks, reports Insider. "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," Rowling wrote on Twitter, adding the hashtag #IStandWithUkraine. Her post was accompanied by a BBC article showing a photo of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny with a defiant raised fist. (Read more Vladimir Putin stories.)

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