John Cleese Accused Of Transphobia After Tweetstorm Defending J.K. Rowling, Jonathan Van Ness Slams ‘Monty Python’ Actor

John Cleese experienced backlash back in late September when he was one of the signatories on a letter supporting Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling over her controversial remarks on transgender people.

Less than two months later, the 81-year-old Monty Python co-founder is being hit by even more, thanks to a series of tweets on Sunday that critics are labelling transphobic.

It began when Cleese tweeted a sarcastic response to a message asking, “Why the f**k 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? Latter probably…”

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Replied Cleese: “Deep down, I want to be a Cambodian police woman. Is that allowed, or am I being unrealistic?”

In a subsequent tweet, he insisted he’s “not that interested in trans folks,” but hoped “they’re happy and that people treat them kindly.”

However, as one Twitter user pointed out, by defending Rowling’s “right to not treat them kindly, you contribute to them not being treated kindly.”

Responding to a tweet indicating his understanding of transgender issues was likely “superficial,” Cleese agreed.

“One thing,” he added. “When a woman who was once a man is competing against women who have always been women, I think she has an advantage, because she inherited a man’s body, which is usually bigger and stronger than a woman’s. Does that prove phobia?”

“Queer Eye” star Jonathan Van Ness has since slammed Cleese’s comments on Twitter, posting:

He later added:

Rowling caught backlash in June due to a series of tweets that were categorized as transphobic.

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