Graham Norton deletes Twitter after comments on JK Rowling and ‘cancel culture’ go viral

Presenter had said the term ‘cancel culture’ should replaced with ‘accountability’

Isobel Lewis
Monday 17 October 2022 15:43 BST
Graham Norton criticises John Cleese for speaking out against 'cancel culture'

Graham Norton has deleted his Twitter account days after a clip of him talking about “cancel culture” and JK Rowling went viral.

The TV presenter was speaking at the Cheltenham Literature Festival on Tuesday (11 October), when he said that he felt the word “cancellation” should be replaced with “accountability’.

“You read a lot of articles in papers by people complaining about cancel culture and you think, ‘In what world are you cancelled?’” he said. “I’m reading your article in a newspaper, or you’re doing interviews about how terrible it is to be cancelled? I think the word is the wrong word. I think the word should be ‘accountability’.”

Host Mariella Frostrup then asked Norton about how his comments applied to Rowling, whom she said had been hit with “anger, rage and attempts at censorship” for her views on transgender people.

Norton replied that he felt his voice on the topic “adds nothing to that discussion”, saying: “If people want to shine a light on those issues then – and I hope people do – 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.

“Graham Norton shouldn’t be in your headline. If you want to talk about something, talk about the thing. You don’t need to attach a Kardashian to a serious subject. The subject should be enough in itself. It’s the Michael Gove thing about ‘enough of experts’ – no, please can we have some experts! Can we rustle up some f***ing experts and talk to them.”

The clip went swiftly viral, with many people praising the presenter for his message.

However, on Monday (17 October), social media users noticed that Norton’s account had been deleted from Twitter.

The Independent has contacted Norton’s representatives for comment.

Days before, Rowling herself had criticised the clip in response to a tweet from musician Billy Bragg, who had branded the video “really good”.

In response, she appeared to accuse Bragg of supporting “rape and death theats” by backing Graham Norton’s view.

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Norton’s Twitter account no longer exists
Norton’s Twitter account no longer exists (Twitter)

Bragg responded: “Hard to think of anything that better illustrates Graham Norton’s point than the sight of someone with 13.9m followers reacting to a call for a fair hearing for trans teens and their parents by equating it to *checks notes* support for rape and death threats.”

As fans noticed that Norton’s account had been deleted on Monday, his name began trending on Twitter, with one commenter writing: “What a world we live in when you can’t even say, ‘listen to the experts’, without being hounded off Twitter by vile, unhinged abuse.”

“Graham Norton has been bullied off Twitter for saying ‘I don’t really want to offer an opinion on trans people, why not ask a trans person about trans issues’, which is the only sensible answer to that particular question,” another Twitter user posted.

“I just feel that the group who are so sure cancel culture is ruining their lives look a bit hypocritical when they’re cheering and high-fiving that they’ve driven Graham Norton off Twitter,” another tweet read. “‘We did it, everyone! That’ll teach him for saying cancel culture isn’t real!’”

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