Comedian John Cleese has been accused of transphobia after tweeting in support of Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling, stating that he is "not that interested" in transgender rights.
The Monty Python star, 81, questioned aspects of trans rights while admitting to signing a letter of support for Rowling, who previously faced backlash for her views on transgender issues.
For a daily dose of 9Honey, sign up here to receive our top stories straight to your inbox © GettyJohn Cleese tweeted in support of author J.K. Rowling, stating
"Deep down, I want to be a Cambodian policewoman. Is that allowed, or am I being unrealistic?" Cleese tweeted in response to a user who asked why he can't "just let people be who they want to be?"
The comedian then stated, "I'm afraid I'm not that interested in trans folks. I just hope they're happy and that people treat them kindly. Right now I'm more focussed on threats to democracy in America, the rampant corruption in the UK, the appalling British Press, the revelations about police brutality...
"COVID-19, the incompetence of the British government, China's complete disregard for the necessity to abandon fossil fuels, the developments in France between Macron and Islamicists, diabetes, and the recent deaths of several of my close friends. Does than sound hard-hearted?"
READ MORE: Daniel Radcliffe responds to J.K. Rowling's anti-trans tweets
Cleese later admitted his "understanding is superficial," but 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?" he asked users.
The Fawlty Towers star also mentioned he was bothered by his critics having a "complete lack of perspective."
"Of course, that goes with a complete lack of a sense of humour," he added. "Heard a woke joke yet?"
Meanwhile, Rowling's controversy began after she commented on an article from global health website Devex titled 'Opinion: Creating a more equal post-COVID-19 world for people who menstruate.'
"People who menstruate.' I'm sure they're used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?" Rowling tweeted.
Twitter users immediately called the author's comments "anti-trans" and "transphobic" as transgender people, non-binary people and gender-nonconforming people can also menstruate. Rowling followed that tweet up by criticising the idea that someone's biological sex isn't real.