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Teen news site apologises to JK Rowling for ‘suggesting she’s transphobic’ and urging readers to boycott her work

Vic Parsons July 23, 2020
News website apologises to JK Rowling for suggesting she is 'transphobic'

JK Rowling at a human-rights awards ceremony in New York, December 12, 2019. (Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images)

A daily news service for teenagers has retracted an article that was “critical of JK Rowling personally” – a fortnight after the author signed an infamous open letter defending freedom of speech.

The Day, which was founded in 2011 and is available in schools and colleges, published an article on 10 June called “Potterheads cancel Rowling after trans tweet”.

The article came amid a row over JK Rowling’s views about transgender people, which she had explained in an explosive and controversial Twitter thread during Pride month.

“We accept that our article implied that what JK Rowling had tweeted was objectionable and that she had attacked and harmed trans people,” says The Day’s apology.

“The article was critical of JK Rowling personally and suggested that our readers should boycott her work and shame her into changing her behaviour.

“Our intention was to provoke debate on a complex topic. We did not intend to suggest that JK Rowling was transphobic or that she should be boycotted.”

JK Rowling, who has been called “transphobic” by many commentators online and in the media for her opinions about transgender women, children and rights, signed an open letter published in Harpers Magazine two weeks ago that was critical of “cancel culture”. Despite the accusations, JK Rowling insists she is not transphobic.

“The free exchange of information and ideas, the lifeblood of a liberal society, is daily becoming more constricted,” the Harper’s Magazine letter reads.

“While we have come to expect this on the radical right, censoriousness is also spreading more widely in our culture: an intolerance of opposing views, a vogue for public shaming and ostracism, and the tendency to dissolve complex policy issues in a blinding moral certainty.”

The open letter, signed by 152 writers, academics and activists, adds that “the way to defeat bad ideas is by exposure, argument, and persuasion, not by trying to silence or wish them away”.

In its apology to JK Rowling for its piece about her views on transgender people, The Day concludes: “We unreservedly apologise to JK Rowling for the offence caused, are happy to retract these false allegations and to set the record straight.

“We shall be making a financial contribution to a charity of JK Rowling’s choice.”

More: free speech, freedom of speech, Harper's Magazine, Harry Potter, JK Rowling, the day, Trans, transphobia

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