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Staff at JK Rowling’s publishing house are refusing to work on her new children’s book over her relentless anti-trans tirade

Vic Parsons June 16, 2020
The Ickabog: Publishing staff down tools over JK Rowling's anti-trans tirade

Publishing staff are upset at J.K. Rowling's anti-trans tirade. (Getty)

JK Rowling’s anti-trans views have reportedly prompted staff at publishing house Hachette to threaten to stop working on the production of her children’s book, The Ickabog.

Hachette is apparently facing an “internal war” after those who disagree with Rowling’s position on trans rights “staged a rebellion” during a meeting, the Daily Mail reports.

A source told the Mail: “Staff in the children’s department at Hachette 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.”

Another source added: “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.”

The Ickabog publisher defends ‘freedom of speech’.

Hachette also faced staff action in March, when its New York office walked out in protest at the decision to publish Woody Allen’s autobiography, despite his daughter, Dylan Farrow, claiming he molested her as a child.

The publisher issued a statement in response to the Daily Mail story, saying that although it supported its staff’s right to expression, it did not support any attempts to boycott authors whose views outside their writing were contrary to their own.

“We are proud to publish JK Rowling’s children’s fairy tale The Ickabog. Freedom of speech is the cornerstone of publishing,” a statement said.

“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.”

JK Rowling’s anti-trans views criticised by Harry Potter stars.

JK Rowling has been promoting her new children’s book, The Ickabog, over the past two months by asking children to send in illustrations of each chapter, which she responds to on Twitter.

This included one instance on May 29 where the British author, 54, accidentally tweeted “F**k up some TERFs” in response to a nine-year-olds drawing.

She swiftly deleted the tweet and later apologised for a “cut and paste” error.

The Harry Potter author has been widely criticised for posting a string of anti-trans tweets and then publishing a 3,600 word blog post explaining her position on trans rights which has been widely derided as “transphobic”, as well as poorly timed.

Those criticising JK Rowling’s views have included many of the stars of her famous franchise, including Emma Watson, Daniel Radcliffe and Katie Leung.

In her personal essay expressing “deep concern” about trans rights, Rowling also disclosed that she is a survivor of domestic violence.

Tabloid newspaper The Sun then tracked down her abusive ex and platformed him with a front-page story.

This was strongly condemned by domestic-abuse charities and led to more than 60 trans and non-binary activists signing an open letter to the newspaper demanding it apologise to Rowling.

“Though her disclosure of domestic violence came in the middle of a long post detailing her anti-trans views, this does nothing to alter our unwavering solidarity with all survivors of domestic violence including JK Rowling,” the open letter said.

“We stand alongside JK Rowling in this cruel and malicious reporting.”

 

More: Daniel Radcliffe, emma watson, hachette, JK Rowling, Katie Leung, the ickabog, trans rights

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