J.K. Rowling receives defense against 'cancel culture' from ... Vladimir Putin

J.K. Rowling
(Image credit: Bruce Glikas/Bruce Glikas/FilmMagic)

J.K. Rowling just received a public defense against her critics — though not one she'll be quick to embrace.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, weeks after launching a widely condemned invasion of Ukraine, complained in a speech Friday that both Russia and the author of the Harry Potter books are being "canceled."

Putin has repeatedly claimed the international condemnation of Russia for invading Ukraine means "they are trying to cancel our country," and in his speech Friday, he compared this situation to Rowling receiving criticism for her tweets about transgender people.

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

"They canceled Joanne Rowling recently, the children's author," Putin said. "Her books are published all over the world. Just because she didn't satisfy the demands of gender rights."

Putin has complained about "cancel culture" during and prior to his invasion of Ukraine, and last October, he claimed that teaching children "that a boy can become a girl and vice versa" is "on the verge of a crime against humanity."

Rowling for more than two years has been accused of transphobia for numerous tweets and statements, and she recently went on a Twitter tirade claiming that "under a Labour government," International Women's Day will become "We Who Must Not Be Named Day." Stars of the Harry Potter films including Daniel Radcliffe have publicly criticized her remarks.

Despite this criticism, Rowling remains actively involved in the Harry Potter franchise and co-wrote the upcoming prequel film Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore. A recent HBO Max Harry Potter reunion special didn't include a new interview with Rowling, but she still appeared in it via archival footage.

Continue reading for free

We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.

Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.