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John Cleese throws support behind JK Rowling in transphobic Twitter feud

Monty Python actor John Cleese has ignited a Twitter war after expressing his “dis-interest in trans-folks” and woke culture.

81-year-old actor John Cleese has expressed his support for JK Rowling amidst ongoing backlash due to her discriminatory stance on trans people, earlier this year signing a letter in support of the author.

It’s a move which could be construed as ironic, seeing as Cleese’s career is built off the back of the Monty Python group who strongly stand against intolerance. Now, recent comments from the actor have stirred up a storm on Twitter.

John Cleese twitter fued
Image: Harry Potter, Warner Brothers

Although the letter was signed back in September this year, the feud kicked off on Sunday after user Greg Joughin requested an explanation behind Cleese’s motivations in signing it. In response, the actor appears to actively joke in a transphobic manner, discrediting a person’s right to be respected by their gender.

Another user questions why Cleese can’t “let people be who they want to be?” and if his support towards Rowling is based on liking her as a person and working with her in the Harry Potter series, to which Cleese replies: “Deep down, I want to be a Cambodian police woman. Is that allowed or am I being unrealistic?”

The arguments continue as Cleese expresses his disinterest in “trans folks”, saying he would rather focus on “rampant corruption in the UK, the appalling British Press and revelations about police brutality” – all of which see trans people and people of colour unjustly singled out and disproportionately targeted.

Cleese then shows a complete lack of empathy and understanding by expressing he has sympathy and support for “most of the third world” except “all wokes” – alluding to awareness and social justice for trans people – and continues on to suggest that people with such views should “fry in their own sanctimoniousness and narcissistic posturing”. 

What Cleese seems to miss here is that his “bad jokes” and misinformed opinion contribute to a cycle of transphobia, ultimately quashing people’s rights to be respected in regards to their gender. It’s also just downright mean.