Queer Eye's Jonathan Van Ness Accuses Monty Python's John Cleese of Transphobia

by Kevin Schattenkirk

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Tuesday November 24, 2020

John Cleese
John Cleese  (Source:Andrew Matthews / PA Wire via AP)

Jonathan Van Ness of "Queer Eye" called out British actor John Cleese as transphobic after the "Monty Python" star defended the beleaguered "Harry Potter" author J.K. Rowling after a series of transphobic comments she made in the last two years, People reports.

On Sunday, Twitter user @karyudo posted a screenshot from September 30 in which Cleese said he has "added my name to the signatories of the letter in solidarity with JKRowling."

In response, another Twitter user, @michaelacquino, said "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? Latter probably..."

Cleese, who appeared in the filmed version of Rowling's "Harry Potter" franchise, retorted, "Deep down, I want to be a Cambodian police woman" and asking "Is that allowed, or am I being unrealistic?"

When Twitter user @cloudy_yah compelled Cleese to "be upfront and tell us your thoughts on JKR's position on trans folks," the actor took a more serious — though still flippant — tone: "I'm afraid I'm not that interest in trans folks. I just hope they're happy and that people treat them kindly. 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..."

It was this last tweet that drew the ire of Van Ness, who accused Cleese of making "several transphobic comments here. You do seem to not only be interested in trans folks, but also adding to transphobia at a time when trans people are being murdered world wide. Trans & non binary people aren't being treated kindly."

Furthermore, Van Ness tweeted, "Instead of worrying about American democracy worry about the transphobia gripping the UK. Worry about the staggering inequality your country faces & keep LGBTQ issues out of your chapped ass lip having mouth unless you due to some miracle become an ally."

Kevin Schattenkirk is an ethnomusicologist and pop music aficionado.

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