John Cleese Has Been Accused Of Transphobia After A Twitter Tirade Involving J.K. Rowling

It’s said one should never meet one’s heroes for they’ll always disappoint you. Thanks to Twitter, the great social leveler, you can meet them — or at least read what they really think. On Sunday, one of comedy’s most towering legends (and greatest eulogists), John Cleese, decided the world needed to know that he was one of those people who took a skeptical eye towards the trans community. And it didn’t go well.

It began when someone dug up a screenshot from less than two months ago, in which he signed a letter in support of J.K. Rowling, who over the summer also went on social media to out herself with transphobic comments. He responded with a joke that, too, was seen as transphobic.

“Deep down, I want to be a Cambodian police woman,” Cleese wrote. “Is that allowed, or am I being unrealistic ?” It’s a depressingly standard anti-trans comment, and it was met with an all-too-familiar combination of disappointment and disgust.

Others reminded Cleese of all the rights he’d lose were he to transition into a Cambodian police woman.

And some pointed out that he’s crossed over to the side he and his fellow Python-ers used to lampoon.

But this being 2020, when pushed, Cleese responded by doubling down. He tried a little clarification, saying, “I’m afraid I’m not that interested in trans folks,” adding that “I just hope they’re happy and that people treat them kindly.” He then said he was “more focused” on other threats, such as threats to American democracy, police brutality, COVID-19, etc. (Which is all well and good, but surely it’s not hard to add yet another pressing issue to add to the pile.)

Cleese then went on to mock progressive culture, accusing them of a “complete lack of perspective,” as well as a “complete lack of a sense of humor,” adding, “Heard a woke joke yet?”

He then attempted a “woke joke”:

Well, some jokes take some refining before they’re ready.

As with Rowling, Cleese’s tweets may find him some new friends on the far right, but they may take umbrage with many of his other beliefs. As he said, he cares about issues to which they’re hostile if not outright against. Still, every time Cleese tweets something progressive and smart, he may have this instance hanging over his head.

(Via Newsweek)