For the past two years, JK Rowling has shown everyone who she really is. Perhaps it was obvious to people before that – certainly, adults re-reading the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts series recently have been discussing her tone-deaf racism and not-so-subtle anti-Semitism. But Rowling’s transphobia has only really come up in the past two years. It’s so foreign to me, the idea that a white woman could be so stridently and actively anti-intersectionality, that Rowling’s view of feminism is only for cisgendered hetersexual white women, no women or color, no queer women, no transgender women. No matter who tries to reason with her, she just creeps further and further into her bubble of privilege, where she clearly believes that SHE is the one being persecuted. I mean, nothing is going to happen to her. She’s crazy, rich and out of touch. But maybe this will hurt her a little bit: Rowling owns a literary agency and four of her authors have dumped her. Specifically for her transphobia.
Four authors represented by JK Rowling’s literary agency have resigned after accusing the company of declining to issue a public statement of support for transgender rights. Fox Fisher, Drew Davies and Ugla Stefanía Kristjönudóttir Jónsdóttir said they could no longer work with the Blair Partnership, the London-based agency that represents all aspects of the Harry Potter author’s work, because they were not convinced the company “supports our rights at all avenues”. One other author is understood to have also quit the agency but wishes to remain anonymous.
In a joint statement, Fisher, Davies and Jónsdóttir said that following Rowling’s recent intervention on transgender rights, they had asked the agency “to reaffirm their commitment to transgender rights and equality”. However, following private talks, they said: “We felt that they were unable to commit to any action that we thought was appropriate and meaningful.” As a result, the writers felt unable to continue to be represented by the agency, adding: “Freedom of speech can only be upheld if the structural inequalities that hinder equal opportunities for underrepresented groups are challenged and changed.”
In its response, the Blair Partnership said it took pride in the diversity of views represented by their authors but it could not compromise on the “fundamental freedom” of allowing authors the right to express their thoughts and beliefs. A spokeswoman said it would always champion diverse voices and believe in freedom of speech for all but it was not willing to have staff “re-educated” to meet the demands of a small group of clients.
Look at how carefully all of that has been written – “they had asked the agency ‘to reaffirm their commitment to transgender rights and equality’. However, following private talks…” These authors went to Rowling and the executives at Blair Partnership and said “we can’t continue to work with this agency unless Rowling apologizes for being a transphobic a–hole.” And she declined. That’s what the “re-educated” weirdness is too – this is specifically about Rowling’s coworkers feeling deeply unsettled by her strident trans-hatred and she’s passing it off like “thank you very much but I don’t need to be re-educated on this issue, I know transgender people are MONSTERS.” The Guardian goes on to say that Jónsdóttir (aka Owl Fisher) specifically requested Blair Partnership make a public declaration of support for transgender rights. And they declined.
In Blair Partnership’s statement about the authors’ exits, they issued a word salad which featured sentences like this: “We are disappointed by the decision that four clients have taken to part ways with the agency. To reiterate, we believe in freedom of speech for all; these clients have decided to leave because we did not meet their demands to be re-educated to their point of view.” Rowling clearly believes her transphobia is a matter of free speech. And it is, to a certain extent. She has the right to say the most backwards, asinine, self-pitying, martyr-syndrome bullsh-t ever about trans people. And everyone else has the right to call her a transphobic, racist, anti-Semitic, closed-minded a–hole.
Photos courtesy of WENN.
This is the biggest case of someone showing their ass I have seen in a while. I mean, just out of nowhere, and completely unforced. Just woke up and said, let me show my ass today. And she sure showed us.
This genuinely hurts my heart, I love the Harry Potter Books and I read them to my daughter since before she was born. I am raising my family to know that everyone deserves to live in a place of love and hope, each person should be able to live their best life without fear and ignorance from other people. JK is a billionaire and will never have to struggle for the rest of her life, Its a shame that she is not offering that opportunity to others. Shame on her
It says “to satisfy a small group of clients”-so that means they didn’t care to re-educate themselves or publicly affirm they’ve re-educated themselves because trans men and women make up only a tiny portion of their clientele??? Is that what that means????
The “small group of clients” is the authors who left the agency.
As a fan of Harry Potter books, I will no longer support this woman until she acknowledges her wrongs and prove through action how she has changed. I doubt it because she has become a Karen. BTW, there is a good documentary about how media and film has portrayed transgender women in the US and the impact on the trans women and their movement; it is called ‘Disclosure’ and on Netflix. I highly recommend it.
Oops I didn’t make it clear – the documentary also highlights transmen too.
Thank you so much, I’ve been looking for good documentaries and media about trans lives so I can better understand their struggle. Great recommendation.
thank you for the rec! i’m adding this to my to-watch list!
I think as well in this cancel culture
Once someone is canceled you cant be seen to be affiliated with them. They knew if they stayed it would affect their book sales. JK Rowling can afford to express her opinions. She has made her money. People who are still trying to make it have to tread carefully ! I dont think JK cares.
When I see the sneering, dismissive term “cancel culture” applied in a situation like this, it implies to me that the person using it thinks calling out human rights abuses like transphobia, misogyny, and racism is worse than perpetuating those abuses. (I think the same thing when I hear the terms “SJW” or “virtue signalling.”)
What really happened is: JK Rowling made transphobic statements. She got called out for it and doubled down. These four authors who don’t support transphobia asked her to educate herself on why her transphobia is a human rights issue, not a matter of free speech. She refused. They decided they can’t support someone who trampled on other people’s human rights, and stopped having a business relationship with her.
I doubt this is all about money for these authors. There are plenty of people who have shown they don’t care about (or they actively support) Rowling’s transphobia. Their book sales would probably not be affected had they stayed affiliated with her. But instead these four authors are choosing to stay true to their principles of supporting human rights.
There are nuances to everything. I don’t vote GOP but friends I have do, and when they do, as Trump is the sitting president, they will vote Trump. I won’t fault them for that even though I don’t like him. They are conservatives and as such wan’t to preserve things without it moving too much forwards. That doesn’t mean they want to preserve bad things and not all progress is good progress.
I will never be a fan cancelling people for having opinions I disagree with, most of the big changes I have had to make in my life has been made be talking to, and understanding, people I originally disagreed with. I lived briefly in Thailand (A year or so, for work), and Transgender people is a whole third sex, people don’t even notice the difference anymore. There are still things that has been sorted, how transgender people participate in sports, making sure born females are not disadvantaged. I can have an opinion on that, but there is a truth somewhere in both camps.
I also have family which are, if not racist, then at the very least narrow minded. I still love them to death, and some of the things I stand for “Universal basic income” and the like are totally foreign to them, but they love me just the same.
People are …. complex, and we shouldn’t put anyone on pedestals, they will have deep faults and we should still be able to enjoy the places where they don’t. You wouldn’t refuse to use a field of math because the mathematician turned out to problematic. A contribution is a contribution, no matter what your opinion on anything is, and I would probably defend the said mathematician’s right to do math no matter what he believed in, and I would enjoy the benefits of his/her work.
Cancel culture to me, is making simple of the complex in order to better make the world binary. Good, evil, easy.
Hell most of the people I like today might be total a-holes, some of them probably are, and why is my not knowing a defence for not cancelling them even before I know? I can cancel my like of them as people, but it will never invalidate their work, unless their only contribution is to make people like them to begin with.
Well Summer I will fault your Trump-voting friends for you. Voting for Trump has always been despicable and is ten times more so in 2020. Horrible. These people who vote for him because they are too butt-hurt to re-evaluate their GOP loyalty are the problem and I fault them completely.
The fact that she would use this language – reeducate – when that is what is forcibly and violently being done to lgbtq+ folks all over the world simply for existing – is pretty cruel.
Her entire approach to this whole topic has been cruel. It’s disturbing.
Some of the arguments TERFs regularly use to support their transphobia are some of the same points that have been use to support the oppression of gay/lesbian/bisexual people, and the oppression of women and girls everywhere. You’d think that would be a wake-up call. When this is pointed out, the excuse from a lot of them will be something along the selfish lines of, “The fact that we support some groups does not mean we have to support all groups.”
I noticed that bit, as well. Couldn’t be a TERF without stoking a little xenophobia as well, I guess…
Link to her “tone deaf racism?”???
Google it. But for starters, Cho Chang and the problematic backstory of Nagini.
Heck, even Lee Jordan who is kind of reduced to “sports announcer guy, and friend of the twins.” the one really notable Black person (I don’t count Dean because he’s barely there.) Her few minorities with names are pretty badly written.
I’m so glad I was never a Potterhead. First of all, I find it detrimental to use the trope of “the chosen one”. Educationally what does that say to kids? Moreover, I find the books long and time consuming when there is so much more out there to read…
Anyway, glad to have had that instinct because I know a few people who would be happy to have an “unread” button on their brains because of what this woman turned out to be.
Omg PLEASE read the books before criticizing them.
Seriously, read the books.
I read half of the first one and gave up. You are right Slowdown, so much better stuff out there.
god this woman is an idiot… I detest her for tainting HP for me, ducking moron
Well she can sign up racist and problematic lawrence fox seen he’s been defending her and attacking Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and all the other Harry Potter stars who have said something against JK Rowling.
So many kids read her books and came out as trans later. They must be so hurt, and my heart breaks for them. When she said that Dumbledore was gay, I know it made them feel more accepted, but no. Very sad.
May the authors who left find success at other publishers.
You know…the very white non inclusive Potter world has been heralded for over two decades now. And the poetic irony of this is how JK is the one undoing her own over-inflated legacy with each tweet and unhinged blog post.
This whole story is so weird and sad! Even if she feels the way she does about trans people why not keep your mouth shut since clearly you are hurting others?! I’m a big freedom of speech supporter but that doesn’t mean you don’t have consequences for what you say. What is she gaining by talking about trans people like this? Validation, agreement from
Other twitter users? I’m so glad I don’t use twitter!
I am a white cis heterosexual woman and I cant, for the life of me, understand why the existence of others poses such a threat to some. I suppose JK isn’t as secure and confident in her own identity as she presumes otherwise she wouldn’t have this irrational need to erase trans people from their own existence.
Man, JK Rowling is making me want to donate my books somewhere…and I had enjoyed them.
I think this was a really brave and admirable move on the part of those authors. I’d never heard of them—and I work in the literary world, although not in the UK. If you’re not a household name, finding a new agent can be tough.
In the UK there are lobby groups who do insist that companies and schools “re-educate themselves” about trans rights and that includes giving away the rights of women and girls to have female only toilets, changing rooms, refuges, crisis centres, sports teams and prisons – to name a few whilst advocating that children as young as 3/4 can be referred to clinic for gender dysphoria and puberty blockers given to children as young as 11. This company did the right thing in pushing back on this ideology. JK said nothing other than that women are women and men are men and that women – in particular – have specific needs and rights thus shouldn’t be lumped in/given over to trans rights. But, sure, call her a TERF and a bigot and an asshole. Very Jameela Jamil of you.
That’s not all of what she said, but go off, TERF.
Out you go Suzy as the British would say.
What is her issue, she’s a big jerk. Respect other people’s choices, use the correct pronouns & apologize of you get it wrong. The fact that trans people exist doesn’t make me any less me & for her to feel put upon speaks volumes to her privilege & ego. People who won’t even entertain another’s point of view are the worst. I’ll admit the training I got at my job a year ago was helpful as I don’t always understand & or was unsure on pronouns. I think that basic manners if used properly is all it takes to get along. I don’t understand her & her immense hate but it’s quite disappointing
I’m seeing this total piece of shit becoming a billion dollar domestic recluse roaming the grounds in house robes verbally abusing the lawn guy, the pool guy, the cook and the maid before, praise Jesus, retiring to her third floor living space and slamming the double doors shut. Spilling her Tom Collins.
tbh i don’t think she said anything that bad. i had to look up her original tweets since this comment thread mentioned human rights abuses and transphobia. like i don’t 100% agree with her but i don’t want to be called a menstruator or ovary owner instead of a woman, because those are things i have not who i am. when i read her essay i understood more where she’s coming from and it is important to protect sex based rights but i don’t see where that is in conflict with protecting trans rights.
maybe she’s confusing the one or two more controversial voices who happen to be trans with the 100’s of thousands of regular folks who happen to be trans living their lives and in no way affecting her?