J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series of children’s books, has taken the unusual step of defending Belgium’s deputy prime minister Koen Geens from ridicule, after Geens was filmed struggling to put on a face mask.
As well as holding down his regular job as justice minister, Geens (CD&V) has been given the task of supervising the supply of protective equipment, including face masks for the use of the general public.
On Thursday he paid a visit to a sewing workshop organised by the Christian women’s organisation Ferm in Wijgmaal in Flemish Brabant, part of a network of initiatives getting volunteers to make cloth masks for front-line workers and others unable to obtain them.
The Flemish public broadcaster VRT was present, and the cameras were rolling as Geens took one of the masks and tried with some difficulty to put it on, at one point wearing it over his eyes instead of nose and mouth.
Then Rowling stepped in, replying on Twitter, “I cannot in good conscience mock this man. This is exactly the kind of thing I’d do, especially when being filmed. I’m incompetent with all inanimate objects and I’d be sweating & thinking ‘don’t put it on wrong, don’t put it on wrong’ and inevitably I’d turn it into a blindfold.”
Geens was made aware of Rowling’s tweet, and made a good-natured reply of his own.
“Thanks JK, took one for the team of the clumsy,” he tweeted.