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Monty Python star and beloved Comedian John Cleese, was subject to criticism on Saturday evening when his support of JK Rowling became a contentious topic for some Twitter followers. Cleese self describes as a liberal, and is deeply opposed to Donald Trump, but has also been vocally supportive of free speech and opposed to cancel culture.
The controversy began after a Twitter user reposted an old tweet of Cleese's where he showed solidarity to JK Rowling. Rowling is considered a verboten figure as she has been accused of Transphobia due to her feminist stances on women's spaces and trans identity.
This led to John Cleese being accused of standing in solidarity of transphobia and discrimination.
In response to the barrage of activists attacking the comedian, Cleese stated "If you can't control your own emotions, you're forced to control other people's behaviour."
"That's why the touchiest, most oversensitive and easily upset must not set the standard for the rest of us," he said.
One user raged against Cleese, "Why the fuck can't you just let people be who they want to be? Do you actually think there is some deep conspiracy to turn people "against their genders"? Or do you like her as a person and therefore there isn't anything she can do wrong?"
Trans activists then became further enraged when instead of apologizing, Cleese identified himself as a "Cambodian police woman."
Finally, when asked directly on what he think of "trans folks," Cleese remarked, "I'm afraid I'm not that interested in trans folks. I just hope they're happy and that people treat them kindly." This was not enough for some people.
Cleese then set aside comedic responses and replied with a comparison to issues mattering most to him in this moment. "Right now I'm more focused on threats to democracy in America, the rampant corruption in the UK, the appalling British Press, the revelations about police brutality, Covid19, the incompetence of the British government, China's complete disregard for the necessity to abandon fossil fuels, the developments in France between Macron and Islamicists, diabetes, and the recent deaths of several of my close friends."
John Cleese has been subject to controversy before, but he remains one of the most prominent Comedic voices in his generation. He is also considered to be deeply intellectual. As cancel culture runs rampant over people's careers, John Cleese appears to be teflon.