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Did J.K. Rowling drive Graham Norton off Twitter?

Did J.K. Rowling drive Graham Norton off Twitter?
British writer J.K Rowling reacts on the red carpet after arriving to attend the World Premiere of the film "Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore" in London on March 29, 2022. (Photo by Tolga Akmen / AFP) Photo: AFP via Getty Images

British comedian and talk show host Graham Norton seemingly shut down his Twitter account following an online dustup with J.K. Rowling over trans rights.

Norton appeared at the Cheltenham Literary Festival on October 11 to discuss his novel Forever Home with journalist and TV presenter Mariella Frostrup. During a discussion of “cancel culture,” Frostrup brought up the backlash Rowling has faced for her stridently anti-trans views.

Norton avoided taking the bait, insisting instead that his isn’t the voice that matters in so-called debates over trans rights.

“Talk to trans people, talk to the parents of trans kids, talk to doctors, talk to psychiatrists, talk to someone who can illuminate this in some way,” Norton said, without ever once mentioning the Harry Potter author’s name.

The clip from the conversation posted by British Magazine Radio Times, which sponsored the event, went viral.

“Norton really good here on John Cleese, telling him that ‘cancel culture’ is just accountability, and JK Rowling, suggesting that the media talk directly to trans teens and their parents rather than merely amplifying the takes of a celebrity,” tweeted musician Billy Bragg.

Another Twitter user cheered Norton’s “sensible, honest, smart” remarks, while pointing out that the Radio Times’ sensational caption rather proved Norton’s point about celebrity takes.

Rowling pounced on Bragg’s tweet, snidely posting that she was “Very much enjoying the recent spate of bearded men stepping confidently onto their soapboxes to define what a woman is and throw their support behind rape and death threats to those who dare disagree. You may mock, but takes real bravery to come out as an Old Testament prophet.”

Again, both Bragg and Norton simply suggested that the media should pay more attention to actual trans people when it comes to trans issues.

As PinkNews reports, Norton quickly became the target of anti-trans voices online, with even Frostrup retweeting an article from the British magazine The Spectator criticizing Norton for not defending Rowling.

By Monday, Norton had seemingly left the platform, while supporters began posting the hashtag #IStandWithGrahamNorton.

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