British novelist Salman Rushdie squared off against feminist icon Germaine Greer in a letter published in a newspaper, labelling her support for a group of Bangladeshi film protesters as "philistine, sanctimonious, and disgraceful."
A group of Bangladeshi traders is opposing the film version of Monica Ali's book Brick Lane, a story about a Bangladeshi woman living in the area of east London. Protesters are unhappy over how the book depicts people in the neighbourhood.
Greer wrote that locals had a right to prevent filming, and that Ali failed to think that some residents might have found her plot outlandish. Others have supported the book and film. "She writes in English and her point of view is - whether she allows herself to impersonate a village Bangladeshi woman or not, British. She has forgotten her Bengali, which she would not have done if she had wanted to remember it. When it comes to writing a novel, however, she becomes the pledge of our multi-ethnicity," Greer wrote Monday in The Guardian newspaper.
Rushdie, who received death threats after writing The Satanic Verses, lashed back at Greer in The Guardian newspaper, writing a letter saying Greer's words were "not unexpected."
"At the height of the assault against my novel The Satanic Verses, Germaine Greer stated: 'I refuse to sign petitions for that book of his, which was about his own troubles.' She went on to describe me as 'a megalomaniac, an Englishman with dark skin.' Now it's Monica Ali's turn to be de-racinated."
Greer went to Cambridge University in the late '60s with Rushdie. They have had several reported rows over the years.