Potter vs Putin: JK Rowling hits back at Russian leader over cancel culture comments

World-famous author was cited by Vladimir Putin as example of western cancel culture

JK Rowling was less than impressed at her mention by Vladimir Putin. Getty Images / AFP
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Harry Potter author JK Rowling on Friday publicly rebuked Vladimir Putin after the Russian leader called her a victim of western cancel culture.

“Not so long ago, children's author JK Rowling was cancelled because she, a writer of books that have sold millions of copies around the world, didn't please fans of so-called gender freedoms,” Mr Putin said, in reference to Rowling's contentious tweets about the transgender community.

His invocation of the world-famous UK writer drew a biting response from Rowling herself on Twitter.

She referenced the Kremlin's brutal Ukraine onslaught and its zero-tolerance approach to dissent, namely its treatment of Alexei Navalny, who earlier this week received a nine-year jail sentence for alleged large-scale fraud.

Rowling's inclusion was only a small part of Mr Putin's sprawling polemic in which he lambasted the West for discriminating against Russian culture, which he likened to Nazi supporters burning books in the 1930s.

“Today they are trying to cancel a thousand-year-old country,” Mr Putin said during a televised meeting with Russian winners of culture-related prizes.

“I am talking about the progressive discrimination against everything connected with Russia, about this trend that is unfolding in a number of western states, with the full connivance and sometimes with the encouragement of western elites.

“The proverbial 'cancel culture' has become a cancellation of culture,” he said, citing the exclusion of works by Russian composers from concerts and the banning of books by Russian authors.

“The last time such a mass campaign to destroy unwanted literature was carried out was by the Nazis in Germany almost 90 years ago … books were burned right on the squares,” Mr Putin said.

Watch: Vladimir Putin says West trying to cancel Russian culture

Updated: March 25, 2022, 5:59 PM