The J.K. Rowling controversy continues.
For context, let’s go back to December, when — as I covered at the time — a 45-year-old woman named May Forstater was fired.
From the Independent:
[S]he…was fired from her job at poverty think-tank, Centre for Global Development, over a series of tweets questioning government plans to allow people to self-identify as another gender.
On Wednesday, Ms. Forstater took to Twitter to say she was in “shock and disbelief” at the judgement, which was handed down at the Central London Employment Tribunal.
“My belief … is that sex is a biological fact, and is immutable. There are two sexes, male and female. Men and boys are male. Women and girls are female. It is impossible to change sex. These were until very recently understood as basic facts of life by almost everyone. … This judgment removes women’s rights and the right to freedom of belief and speech. It gives judicial licence for women and men who speak up for objective truth and clear debate to be subject to aggression, bullying, no-platforming and economic punishment.”
Subsequently, J.K. tweeted to her over-14-million followers:
“Dress however you please. Call yourself whatever you like. Sleep with any consenting adult who’ll have you. Live your best life in peace and security. But force women out of their jobs for stating that sex is real?”
Net effect: quite the dustup.
A GLAAD rep offered the following:
“J.K. Rowling, whose books gave kids hope that they could work together to create a better world, has now aligned herself with an anti-science ideology that denies the basic humanity of people who are transgender. Trans men, trans women and non-binary people are not a threat, and to imply otherwise puts trans people at risk. Now is the time for allies who know and support trans people to speak up and support their fundamental right to be treated equally and fairly.”
LGBTQ advocacy group @glaad says they reached out to @jk_rowling's PR team and offered to facilitate an off-the-record discussion between the best-selling author and members of the trans community. Rowling’s reps declined. More here: https://t.co/77D6sR8Ldm
— Adam B. Vary (@adambvary) December 19, 2019
Well, once again, Rowling’s been riling ’em. This month, the author commented on a headline she saw which dreamed of a “more equal post-COVID world for people who menstruate.”
As noted by RedState’s Kira Davis, J.K.’s posts went thusly:
“‘People who menstruate.’ I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?”
“I respect every trans person’s right to live any way that feels authentic and comfortable to them I’d march with you if you were discriminated against on the basis of being trans. At the same time, my life has been shaped by being female. I do not believe it’s hateful to say so.”
“If sex isn’t real, there’s no same-sex attraction. If sex isn’t real, the lived reality of women globally is erased. I know and love trans people, but erasing the concept of sex removes the ability of many to meaningfully discuss their lives. It isn’t hate to speak the truth.”
Well, now we arrive at the aftermath.
As reported by the DailyMail, staff for the publisher of her new children’s book — The Ickabog — are revolting.
From the Mail:
[S]everal of those involved in Miss Rowling’s new children’s book, The Ickabog, are said to have staged their own rebellion during a heated meeting. One source said: “Staff in the children’s department at [Hachette Book Group] announced they were no longer prepared to work on the book.
“They said they were opposed to her comments and wanted to show support for the trans lobby. These staff are all very ‘woke,’ mainly in their twenties and early thirties, and apparently it is an issue they feel very strongly about.”
To be fair, another insider put it more mildly:
“It was a handful of staff, and they are entitled to their views. If they were being asked to edit a book on domestic abuse, and they were a survivor of domestic abuse, of course they would never be forced to work on it. But this is a children’s fairy tale. It is not the end of the world. They will all be having chats with their managers.”
And — at least for now — the publisher’s issued a pro-Rowling statement:
“Freedom of speech is the cornerstone of publishing. We fundamentally believe that everyone has the right to express their own thoughts and beliefs. That’s why we never comment on our authors’ personal views and we respect our employees’ right to hold a different view.”
“We will never make our employees work on a book whose content they find upsetting for personal reasons, but we draw a distinction between that and refusing to work on a book because they disagree with an author’s views outside their writing, which runs contrary to our belief in free speech.”
Still, the Harry Potter creator’s definitely worked up some ideological opposition, including from…Harry Potter:
Emma Watson, Daniel Radcliffe, Sarah Paulson and More Condemn J.K. Rowling’s Anti-Trans Tweets https://t.co/rDugIbsZnx
— Variety (@Variety) June 10, 2020
The 'Golden Trio' of lead #HarryPotter stars are now unanimous:
Trans women are women. Trans men are men.
Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter himself), Emma Watson (Hermione Granger), and Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley) all agree that J.K. Rowling's transphobia is wrong. pic.twitter.com/xu0Ac7QEu8
— Wizarding News™ 🔔 (@HPANA) June 12, 2020
How’s the stew? Pepper in some sexism, if you like:
Any comments made by the female actresses were not broadcast as widely as Daniel Radcliffes fairly typical for women to be treated as less interesting less important and have their voices ignored
— Ambridge pony club 🇳🇵#FBPE (@jen_jstephen) June 15, 2020
It’s quite the mess.
Last year, even Luke Skywalker was no match for the Force against Rowling’s claim:
Ignorance is no excuse, but I liked the tweet without understanding what the last line or hashtags meant. It was the 1st 4 lines I liked & I didn't realize it had any transphobic connotation. https://t.co/vefcuZEQF9
— Mark Hamill (@HamillHimself) December 20, 2019
As with any book by J.K., I doubt this is the last of the saga.
Stay tuned, people who menstruate and who do not.
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