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Everyone’s Shocked That J.K. Rowling’s Biggest Supporter Is Having an ‘Are We the Baddies?’ Moment

A man in Nazi uniform with the caption "Are we the baddies?"

It’s been a “show your true colors” week for British transphobes. J.K. Rowling quite literally showed her true colors when she retweeted a gross post about taking someone else’s true colors off the Pride flag, and now we have Jeremy Clarkson, whom Brits know as a racist TV presenter, racist Sun columnist, and racist Rowling supporter, showing his … wait, what?

This week, Clarkson wrote an article for The Times titled “Our culture war is a distraction from the real issues around trans rights,” and to everyone’s bewilderment, it demonstrated a quality never before seen in Clarkson: the slightest smidge of self-awareness.

Jeremy Clarkson admits he knows nothing about the “transgender debate”

Unfortunately it began with the usual defense of Rowling, one we’ve seen so many times before. Clarkson wrote, “As we all know, JK Rowling recently expressed an opinion on the transgender debate and she wasn’t just cancelled. She was erased. They put her in the delete bin and then afterwards, all her former fans and even the actors and actresses she’d made famous emptied the bin into a landfill site so that seagulls could feast on her eyes.” I don’t think you’re really in a position to be talking about how you treat people who help make you famous, Jeremy.

Clarkson then listed a long list of supposed grievances, including that “the Metropolitan Police are to be stopped from investigating crime so they can spend more time learning about ‘faer’ and the hundred or so different options that are available to modern-day youth.” This appeared to be a tired retread of a Suella Braverman talking point. But then he suddenly pivoted to, “It would be easy at this point to roll your eyes and think that the world’s gone mad. But hang on a minute. Because what if you’re wrong?”

That’s shocking enough in itself coming from Clarkson, but then he went on to compare what’s happening with gender issues right now to progress that’s been made in terms of sexuality (which is, itself, still tenuous!) and draw the connection that, hey, transphobes sure sound just like the wrong side of history on discrimination over sexuality, and maybe that’s not a coincidence!

To clarify: This is not actual allyship or deserving of praise in itself. I mean, in asking if maybe these issues should be looked at the same way, Clarkson hasn’t even bothered to do the minimum of Wikipedia research and find out that yes, trans people have existed for centuries. This article is just the faintest inkling that, wait a minute, doesn’t all of this hate and fearmongering sound familiar? And readers on Twitter have pointed out that it still uses But it’s still a bit surprising in the midst of rampant attacks on—and terribly biased coverage of—transgender people lately, and considering Clarkson’s past cruel comments on trans people.

Everyone is posting the same meme

As you can imagine, the minds of Twitter users all jumped to the same place: the famous “Are we the baddies?” meme, which came from the British sketch show That Mitchell and Webb Look. (One half of that duo, Robert Webb, is also a transphobe because apparently that’s just the world we live in now.)

And everyone is correct, of course, in being surprised but not impressed. Clarkson does, after all, have a long history of apologizing for something and then going right back to doing it. (Note the stories about his constant racism, for example.)

But, as many people on Twitter have pointed out, perhaps Clarkson’s words may end up filtering down to those who need to hear them but will only accept them when they come from a conservative establishment figure. That’s another depressing reality.

(featured image: BBC)

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Sarah Barrett (she/her) is a freelance writer with The Mary Sue who has been working in journalism since 2014. She loves to write about movies, even the bad ones. (Especially the bad ones.) The Raimi Spider-Man trilogy and the Star Wars prequels changed her life in many interesting ways. She lives in one of the very, very few good parts of England.