Putin Tries To Stoke Culture Wars By Citing JK Rowling Being 'Cancelled'

Commentators warn against “amplifying Russian propaganda".

Russian president Vladimir Putin has been accused of a thinly-veiled attempt to divide the West by claiming his country was being victimised by “cancel culture” after its invasion of Ukraine.

Putin likened the world’s condemnation of Russia to the backlash that Harry Potter author JK Rowling received for controversial comments about the transgender community. Rowling was “cancelled”, Putin said, “just because she didn’t satisfy the demands of gender rights”, according to an interpreter’s translation.

He also claimed Western countries were trying to cancel the works of composers Tchaikovsky, Shostakovich and Rachmaninoff.

On Twitter, Rowling responded to Putin’s suggestion, and shared an article about incarcerated Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny.

She 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.

Liberal Deocrat MP and ex-leader Tim Farron led the chorus urging people to avoid “amplifying (Russian) propaganda just because they affirm things that you already think”.

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

When the Kremlin briefs that Putin’s biggest enemy is our PM… or that Putin’s in the same boat as JKRowling… don’t go amplifying their propaganda just because they affirm things that you already think. That’s what they want you to do!!!

— Tim Farron (@timfarron) March 25, 2022

In a subsequent tweet, Rowling detailed the work her Lumos charity is doing in Ukraine.

“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.

Hmmmm I could remember that JK Rowling is donating millions to Ukrainian orphans - or I could let myself be successfully trolled by Putin and denounce JK Rowling as a witch. What to choose? https://t.co/x4V15RL4kG

— Hadley Freeman (@HadleyFreeman) March 25, 2022

Nothing Putin says about our society is of any worth. He's a smear on the face of the planet.

— Ian Dunt (@IanDunt) March 25, 2022

The biggest troll in global politics lays the most obvious trap and people walk right into it

— Dorian Lynskey (@Dorianlynskey) March 25, 2022

But other commentators, including journalist Owen Jones, argued Putin was not be especially sophisticated.

I’m seeing a lot of commentary that Putin is playing 3D chess by supporting JK Rowling, to promote division in the West.

No: he sees trans rights as a striking example of how morally corrupt and dissolute the West is. That’s it. It’s not more complicated than that!

— Owen Jones 🌹 (@OwenJones84) March 25, 2022

If a man currently invading Ukraine took time out from bombing civilians and hospitals to endorse my views then that, for me, would be a moment to reflect a bit but to each their own

— James Felton (@JimMFelton) March 25, 2022

What's Hot