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Newsnight presenter claims JK Rowling is a victim of ‘cancel culture’ – while missing a gloriously obvious point

Nick Duffy August 24, 2020
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JK Rowling arrives at the RFK Ripple of Hope Awards at New York Hilton Midtown on December 12, 2019 in New York City. (Dia Dipasupil/Getty)

Newsnight presenter Kirsty Wark has claimed that JK Rowling is being unfairly “cancelled” because of her views on trans issues.

The journalist made the comments in an interview with – dramatic pause for effect – The Sunday Times.

Kirsty Wark hits out at ‘cancellation’ of JK Rowling.

In the interview, she said: “I think there is a real issue about cancelling people. It’s a really, really worrying aspect of our society, because what it does, it encourages a kind of mob mentality, which is completely fed by the internet and which can become incredibly dangerous… once we start going down that road, where do we stop?”

She cited Rowling, who has faced disappointment and upset from LGBT+ fans over her explosive views on trans issues.

Wark claimed the treatment of Rowling was “wrong”, adding: “Obviously there are lots of people who feel very hurt by what JK Rowling wrote. But not publishing her? Locking away? That’s not the way to deal with it. You have to engage.”

It is unclear how exactly Rowling has been “cancelled”, given her overwhelmingly-problematic Fantastic Beasts 3 blockbuster and upcoming Ickabog book both remain in production, her views on trans people are routinely afforded a sympathetic platform by much of the media, and her net worth continues to have nearly as many digits as most people’s phone numbers.

Newsnight presenter says life is tough for trans people denied a voice.

Wark did go on to suggest that she understands why transgender people might be upset with Rowling.

She said: “If you were a young person who’s feeling really insecure, and you had no money to make your voice heard, well, maybe it was about the fact that she has a voice and you feel you don’t have a voice. Maybe you’d feel she had the privilege of a voice.”

Newsnight journalist Kirsty Wark
Newsnight journalist Kirsty Wark (Richard Bord/Getty Images for Cannes Lions)

Pushing back when the Sunday Times interviewer pressed a case for Rowling, the Newsnight presenter added: “I think some people have more of a voice than others… the structures of society allow some people more access to that public platform than others.

“It’s very hard for some people to find a voice. If they don’t have the education and so forth. And if they find themselves without access to the education, and without the wherewithal or friendships or family to help them through things – the feeling that they are in the wrong place in their body and they want to transition – it’s tough for them.  I can’t imagine what that would be like.”

Newsnight has previously faced criticism for its coverage of transgender issues, often giving lengthy airtime to unqualified anti-transgender voices during any discussion of trans people’s existence.

More: cancel culture, JK Rowling, Kirsty Wark, newsnight, Trans, transphobia

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