The Monty Python star was among a group of noted writers who signed a letter of support for Rowling earlier this year (20), after she faced a backlash for questioning the notion that "sex isn't real", and raised concerns about changes to gender identity laws - infuriating transgender activists and many of the stars of the Harry Potter movies, which are based on her boy wizard books.
On Sunday (22Nov20), Cleese was challenged over his decision by a series of Twitter users, prompting him to double down on his backing of Rowling, and spar with angry followers.
After one person asked why he couldn't "just let people be who they want to be", Cleese responded, "Deep down, I want to be a Cambodian police woman. Is that allowed, or am I being unrealistic?"
When another wondered if he could just agree that Rowling made "some rather indelicate statements regarding those people who identify differently," he continued to mock, writing, "That depends who I identify with today..."
Cleese then confessed he's just "not that interested in trans folks," adding, "I just hope they're happy and that people treat them kindly."
However, instead of leaving it there, he went on to admit his "understanding is superficial", before stating, "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?" Cleese posed to his critics.
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