Vladimir Putin and JK Rowling Talk About ‘Cancel Culture’
Vladimir Putin and JK Rowling Talk About ‘Cancel Culture’

What do Russian President Vladimir Putin and Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling have in common?

J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter books, has responded to comments made on March 25 by Russian President Vladimir Putin, who accused the West of trying to cancel Russia's rich musical and literary culture.

The “Harry Potter” author reacted to Putin’s name drop by posting an article on Twitter about how a critic of Putin is currently being imprisoned in Russia.

“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, 56, wrote, with an “I Stand With Ukraine” hashtag.

Although she did not mention Putin's comments directly, the author who was brought up in Tutshill and attended WyeDean School in Sedbury, pledged to donate up to £1 million to help orphans in Ukraine.

What Did President Putin Say?

President Putin said on television that Western culture likes to “cancel” things, adding, “They canceled [J.K.] Rowling recently, the children’s author. Her books are published all over the world, [but they canceled her] just because she didn’t satisfy the demands of gender rights.”

“They are now trying to cancel our country,” Putin added, likening “cancel culture” to the Nazis burning books in the 1930s. “I’m talking about the progressive discrimination of everything to do with Russia.”

He continued: "Today, they are trying to cancel a whole 1,000-year-old country, our people. I am talking about the increasing discrimination of everything related to Russia, about this trend which is unfolding in a number of Western states."

*Video - the Russian President Putin hit out at the West for sanctioning the arts world:

Russia has faced strong international condemnation and fresh sanctions following Putin's decision to invade Ukraine in late February. In his remarks, Putin went on to compare the current situation with Russian culture in the West to censorship in Nazi Germany.

"Tchaikovsky, Shostakovich and Rachmaninov are excluded from posters, Russian writers and their books are banned," Putin said, without presenting any evidence. "The last time such a massive campaign to destroy unfavorable literature was carried out by the Nazis in Germany almost 90 years ago."

Valery Gergiev, general director of St. Petersburg's Mariinsky Theater, was among those who participated in the videoconference with Putin on March 25.

Gergiev was dismissed on March 1 as chief conductor of the philharmonic in Munich, Germany, and lost the chance to conduct at La Scala in Milan, Italy, after he failed to condemn Russia's invasion.

Spain’s Teatro Real opera house and London's Royal Opera House have canceled performances by Russia’s Bolshoi Ballet, and the philharmonic in Cardiff, Wales, dropped a concert of Pyotr Tchaikovsky's music from its program.

“The notorious cancel culture has become a cancellation of culture. Tchaikovsky, Shostakovich, Rachmaninov are excluded from concert posters, and Russian writers and their books are also banned,’’ Putin said.

The last time such a campaign was carried out it was by the Nazis in Germany almost 90 years ago, he said, although no books by Russian writers have been banned.

Russia has also been barred from the Eurovision Song Contest and banned from participating in numerous sporting events.

J K Rowling’s Controversy

Fact-Check: Vladimir Putin and JK Rowling Talk About ‘Cancel Culture’
Vladimir Putin Defends JK Rowling as He Talks About ‘Cancel Culture’

Rowling has been in several controversies over the years, some of them accusing her of being transphobic after her comments on the transgender community.

She was criticized back in 2020 for a series of tweets about controversial ideas of what a woman should be like. This happened after Scotland declared that it would be logging women as rapists too. Rowling argued at the time that discussing gender identity negates biological sex.

Rowling previously revealed that her children's charity, Lumos, had been working with the Ukrainian government since 2013, and she launched a fundraising appeal the day after the Russian invasion to help "the thousands of children trapped by the fighting in Ukraine's orphanages."

In 2022, she again landed in hot water when she tweeted a response to a question ‘Who is a woman?’ with ‘We Who Shall Not Be Named.’

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