Graham Norton has deleted his Twitter account days after commenting on cancel culture and author J.K. Rowling.
During an appearance at the Cheltenham Literature Festival on Tuesday (October 11), the presenter discussed his views on cancel culture with interviewer Mariella Frostrup.
Norton said: “You read a lot of articles in papers by people complaining about cancel culture and you think, ‘In what world are you cancelled?’ 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’.”
When asked about how that applies to Rowling, who is described as facing “anger, rage and attempts at censorship” for her views on transgender people, Norton replied: “What I feel weird about this is when I’m asked about it, then I become part of this discussion.
One of the most sensible takes on ‘cancel culture’ I’ve seen. Sensible, honest, smart. I’m posting the video directly as Times Radio tweeted it with a clickbait and somewhat misleading headline that unintentionally confirmed his point. More of this please. pic.twitter.com/toIzfzLQdm
— Brendan May (@bmay) October 12, 2022
“All I’m painfully aware of is that my voice adds nothing to that discussion. I’m sort of embarrassed that I’m somehow drawn into it. And if people want to shine a light on those issues, and I hope people do, then 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.
“I’m very aware as ‘bloke off the telly’, your voice can be artificially amplified. Once in a blue moon, that can be good. But most of the time it’s just a distraction.”
His comments went viral and were praised by the likes of Billy Bragg, who was subsequently criticised by Rowling in response for sharing the clip.
“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,” Rowling wrote.
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. https://t.co/arh3H5pbMs
— Billy Bragg (@billybragg) October 13, 2022
Hard to think of anything that better illustrates misogyny than men complaining that a woman has a view on woman’s rights. https://t.co/4owDwrSXaf
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) October 13, 2022
In response, Bragg wrote: “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.”
“Hard to think of anything that better illustrates misogyny than men complaining that a woman has a view on woman’s rights,” Rowling replied.
As noticed on Monday (October 17) by Twitter users, Norton’s account (@grahnort) has since been deleted from the platform.