The writer Salman Rushdie sees the so-called cancel culture as a great threat to freedom of expression. “If you’re writing and worrying about whether you’re allowed to say something or not, then you’re not free,” he told Stern. The author, who is now publishing his new book “Knife” almost two years after the life-threatening knife attack on him, said that he is very worried about authors who are just starting to write. “There is no other way to be a writer than to write about people who are not like you.” Young authors would then always have to fear the accusation of “cultural appropriation”. Rushdie emphasizes: “If you can only write about people who are like you, the art of the novel is dead.”

He doesn’t feel restricted in what he says or writes. “Luckily I can say: Fuck off. I say and write what I think. And if someone doesn’t like that, then that’s just the way it is.”

Rushdie advocates that true freedom of expression only exists when all opinions are heard. “It’s easy to defend the freedom of speech of people you agree with or are indifferent to,” the writer said. “But you can’t shut up people who don’t feel the way you do. If you do that, you don’t really believe in freedom of expression.”