Aziz Ansari (Reuters/Fred Prouser)

J.K. Rowling and Aziz Ansari hit back brilliantly at Murdoch

The author and the actor take aim at Murdoch's claim Muslims "must be held responsible"


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Mary Elizabeth Williams
January 12, 2015 9:15PM (UTC)

Whatever your race, religion, gender, or orientation, there are certain things almost everyone with a functioning human brain can agree on. Like the idiocy of Rupert Murdoch. Look how he brings people together!

On Twitter this weekend, two different high profile critics of the media baron/garbage idea generator deftly shut down his response to the brutal terror attacks in Paris, and his observation that "Maybe most Moslems peaceful, but until they recognize and destroy their growing jihadist cancer they must be held responsible." Murdoch then doubled down on his comment, asserting, "Big jihadist danger looming everywhere from Philippines to Africa to Europe to US. Political correctness makes for denial and hypocrisy."

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Not that anyone expects thoughtful, non-baiting commentary from Rupert Murdoch, but his remarks nonetheless drew a collective gasp across the Internet, a rightful shock at their insensitivity in the wake of tragedy. But it was author J.K. Rowling who first notably rushed to demolish Murdoch's argument, as she retorted, "I was born Christian. If that makes Rupert Murdoch my responsibility, I'll auto-excommunicate." She then added, to a tweeter who facetiously said, "I personally never stop apologizing for the crusades," "The Spanish Inquisition was my fault, as is all Christian fundamentalist violence. Oh, and Jim Bakker." And Rowling gets special butt kicking points because she didn't just go gunning for Murdoch – she took a moment to reply to a rando troll with a US flag avatar and sixty followers who tried to assert that "a real Gryffindor would speak out against terrorists," telling the user, "Smart move, choosing to make your argument by referencing themes in Harry Potter. Keep that up, you're bound to win!" I'm just going to go ahead and store this entire episode in my mental box of "Why J.K. Rowling continues to be a hero to my kids and me."

But Rowling wasn't alone in her disgust for Murdoch -- God knows that's a sizeable club. When Murdoch, perhaps feeling a bit more generous in his assessment of at least one of the millions of Muslims in the world, tweeted Sunday, "Extraordinary scenes in Paris today, but do not forget the heroic sacrifice of Ahmed Merabet, Muslim police officer whose funeral was today," Aziz Ansari shot back, "Quit back peddling you racist piece of sh_t." And in response to Murdoch's previous claim that Muslims "be held responsible," he asked, "Rups can we get a step by step guide? How can my 60 year old parents in NC help destroy terrorist groups? Plz advise." Then going into full fury mode, he continued, "Are you responsible for the evil shit all Christians do or just the insane amount of evil you yourself contribute to?… @rupertmurdoch is responsible for all pedophilia committed by anyone Catholic. @rupertmurdoch why are you pro-pedophile :( … @rupertmurdoch is Christian just like Mark David Chapman who shot John Lennon. Why didn't Rupert stop it? #RupertsFault … .@rupertmurdoch Are you responsible for the evil shit all Christians do or just the insane amount of evil you yourself contribute to? To be clear, I am not religious and have nothing against Christians or Muslims, just ignorance like what @rupertmurdoch is spreading." And with that, the brilliant hashtag #RupertsFault bloomed, laying at the mogul's feet responsibility for everything terrible from Uber surge pricing to Panda Express to the popularity of "The Big Bang Theory." Well done, Twitter, well done.

Considering that Fox News had to apologize this weekend for bringing in a terrorism "expert" who announced the entire city of Birmingham, England is "Muslim-only" and that in "parts of London, there are actually Muslim religious police that actually beat and actually wound seriously anyone who doesn’t dress according to Muslim, religious Muslim attire," it would seem that the Murdoch machine isn't actually doing much more these days than stoking bigoted hysteria. How very necessary the likes of Rowling and Ansari are right now, then, to challenge vigorously Murdoch's hateful campaign of incitement. How lucky we are to have intelligent, articulate and, most of all, hilarious people out there, to deflate his dangerous and dumb ideas. That's the lesson of the past week. That's what people died for in Paris. That one of the strongest rebukes to fear and ignorance will always be to point at it and laugh.


Mary Elizabeth Williams

Mary Elizabeth Williams is a staff writer for Salon and the author of "A Series of Catastrophes & Miracles."

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