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‘Queer Eye’ Star Jonathan Van Ness Slams John Cleese For Making Slew Of Transphobic Comments

Don Arnold/WireImage; Joshua Sammer/Getty Images

Monty Python actor John Cleese got himself in all kinds of trouble on Twitter over the weekend, and the results will certainly be more than “just a flesh wound.”

Cleese, among other celebrities, signed an online letter of support in favor of JK Rowling’s reputation back in September. The letter recently gained new traction after Rowling’s latest transphobic comments.

Rowling was apparently not alone, as Cleese took it upon himself to post transphobic comments over the weekend as well.

Among the more glaring comments was Cleese’s jab about trans identities.

“Deep down, I want to be a Cambodian police woman. Is that allowed, or am I being unrealistic?” 

Not to mention Cleese’s brushing off of the importance of the trans community altogether. 

“I’m afraid I’m not that interested in trans folks.”

“I just hope they’re happy and that people treat them kindly.”

Cleese listed what he was more interested in instead. 

“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…”

“…[the pandemic], 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 that sound hard-hearted?”

Fortunately, many other celebrities came forward to support the trans community and stressed their importance and need for allies during a time like this. 

This included none other than Queer Eye‘s Jonathan Van Ness, who came to the party prepared with appropriately critical insults. 

Van Ness replied: 

“Dear John Cleese, You’ve made several transphobic comments here.”

“You do seem to not only be interested in trans folks but also adding to transphobia at a time when trans people are being murdered worldwide. Trans and non-binary people aren’t being treated kindly.”

Van Ness also suggested:

“Instead of worrying about American democracy worry about the transphobia gripping the UK.”

“Worry about the staggering inequality your country faces and keep LGBTQ issues out of your chapped a** lip having mouth unless you due to some miracle become an ally.”

Fans of Queer Eye and LGBTQ allies were all about Van Ness’s replies. 


How Cleese reacted to these comments from Van Ness and others is unclear, though it does seem ironic what post was made by the Monty Python Twitter page. 


McKenzie Lynn Tozan

Written by McKenzie Lynn Tozan

McKenzie Lynn Tozan lives in North Chicago, where she works as a poet, freelance writer, and editor. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Western Michigan University, and her BA in English from Indiana University South Bend. Her poems have appeared in Rogue Agent, Whale Road Review, the James Franco Review, Thank You for Swallowing, and elsewhere; and her essays and book reviews have appeared with Memoir Mixtapes, The Rumpus, BookPage, and Motherly, among others. When she's not reading and writing, she's in her garden or spending time with her family. For more, visit