The recent battle of words between JK Rowling and Joanne Harris has pivoted the spotlight on the Harry Potter author once again as she lands in a new controversy. This time, however, the spat began on a relatively mellow scale which then quickly escalated to a back-and-forth between the pair over gender-identity issues — a subject for which JK Rowling has frequently landed in hot water over the years.
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JK Rowling Muddies the Waters with Gender-Identity Issue
The author of one of the most successful, beloved, and famous fantasy novels, JK Rowling is a self-made woman who overcame her personal demons and a tragic beginning to win the heart of millions. However, what began as a refuge for children and an inspiration for women all around the globe soon became a cautionary tale. With the power to inspire and claim the attention of so many, every word coming from the person is weighted with the massive burden of accountability.
Rowling landed in quicksand after making a controversial claim about transgender people that led to numerous actors, authors, and people denouncing her belief. She vehemently opposed the usage of the phrase “people who menstruate” which led to the Twitter mob calling for her cancellation after dubbing her transphobic. In the most recent controversy, Rowling again calls back to gender-identity issues to address her affront against the chair of the U.K. Society of Authors and fellow author, Joanne Harris.
JK Rowling Sparks Controversial Debate With Joanne Harris
The English-French author, Joanne Michele Sylvie Harris, is known to most as the writer of the 1999 novel Chocolat which was later adapted into a 2000 movie of the same name featuring Johnny Depp and Juliette Binoche. Besides her relatively low fame and global recognition, the author stands firm in her own field of expertise as the head of the U.K. Society of Authors.
In the aftermath of the attack on Salman Rushdie at the Chautauqua University, JK Rowling expressed her sympathy and concern for Rushdie and The Satanic Verses but her tweet was met with similar threats of rape and death. Harris extended her support to Rowling and “and to everyone in a similar position.” However, Harris’s response was attacked by Rowling as she stated in The Times,
“I received no communication whatsoever from Harris expressing sympathy for the death and rape threats I’ve received.
Harris has consistently failed to criticize tactics designed to silence and intimidate women who disagree with her personal position on gender identity ideology and has said publicly, ‘Cancel isn’t a dirty word. We habitually cancel things we no longer want.'”
Joanne Harris Responds to Rowling’s Accusations
In response to the claims made by JK Rowling, Joanne Harris replied,
“I’ve always said loud and clear that I condemn threats of any kind, to anyone. That goes for people whose views I disagree with as well as those whose views I share. Free speech is for everyone, and when one person loses it, we’re all at risk.
Yes, I support trans rights. I also have a son who came out as trans a few months ago. But my personal feelings about the gender-critical movement don’t affect my belief in free speech, or what I do for the @Soc_of_Authors”
Salman Rushdie is currently recovering from multiple stab wounds in a hospital in Erie, Pennsylvania.