Ukraine war: JK Rowling hits back at Putin's 'cancel culture' comment

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The Harry Potter author criticised Russia's invasion of Ukraine after President Putin defended her

JK Rowling has hit back at Vladimir Putin, after the Russian president cited her in a wide-ranging speech that saw him criticise "cancel culture".

At a televised meeting on Friday, Mr Putin compared recent criticism of the Harry Potter author to that faced by pro-war Russian composers and writers.

In response, Ms Rowling denounced the invasion of Ukraine in which she said Russia was "slaughtering civilians".

Rowling has been criticised for her views on transgender issues.

"Critiques of Western cancel culture are possibly not best made by those currently slaughtering civilians for the crime of resistance, or who jail and poison their critics," the Harry Potter author wrote on Twitter.

In the lengthy speech, which was given to the winners of various cultural prizes, President Putin claimed Russian composers and writers were being discriminated against.

"They are trying to cancel a thousand-year-old country," he said.

Some events featuring pro-war Russians have been cancelled since Moscow invaded Ukraine last month.

A much smaller number of events have been cancelled due to their use of music by dead Russian composers.

But Mr Putin also alleged - without providing evidence - that there was a "gradual discrimination against everything linked to Russia... in a number of Western countries".

"They are banning Russian writers and books," he said."The proverbial 'cancel culture' has become a cancellation of culture."

Mr Putin then defended Ms Rowling, who has faced criticism for her comments on transgender issues. She denies accusations of transphobia.

"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 claimed.

The writer has said her interest in trans issues stems from being a survivor of abuse and having concerns around single-sex spaces.

Critics have said her views have diminished the identity of trans people.

War in Ukraine: More coverage

Conductor Valery Gergiev, who attended Friday's meeting with the president, has been dropped by festivals, concert halls and management after he failed to condemn Russia's invasion of its neighbour.

And earlier this month, a Welsh orchestra dropped music by the Russian composer Tchaikovsky from a concert because of the war.

"There were two military-themed pieces... that we felt were particularly inappropriate at this time," the Cardiff Philharmonic Orchestra said in a statement.

"When the humanitarian crisis is over the discussion about 'woke' and 'cancel culture' can have its place," it added.

Russia's invasion, which is entering its second month, has sparked a major humanitarian crisis with more than 10m people displaced.