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Network Rail ‘inundated’ with complaints after removing ‘antagonistic’ JK Rowling billboard

Patrick Kelleher October 19, 2020
The JK Rowling book has now been published - and it includes some extremely problematic elements

JK Rowling. (Walter McBride/WireImage)

Network Rail received hundreds of complaints after it removed a “clearly antagonistic” advert expressing support for JK Rowling.

The poster was paid for by Posie Parker, one of Britain’s loudest voices in the “gender critical movement”, and read “I [heart] JK Rowling”. It was erected at Waverly station in Edinburgh in July, shortly after the Harry Potter author shared a controversial essay laying out her views on trans lives.

The poster was removed within days for violating Network’s Rail advertising guidelines – and supporters responded by flooding the company with complaints, the Daily Record reports.

Internal emails from the company revealed that chief executive Andrew Haines was met with a barrage of complaints.

“This situation has worsened as the chairman’s office has been inundated with emails complaining about the removal!” one staff members said in an email.

“Can you speak to [REDACTED] (if you haven’t already) and especially as this has now reached the chairman?” the staffer added.

In another email, a staff member wrote: “For awareness – Andrew Haines is getting sent hundreds of emails about a controversial ad saying we shouldn’t have removed it.

It is clearly an antagonistic move.

“The ad refers to loving JK Rowling and was paid for by a gender campaigner. It is clearly an antagonistic move given JK Rowlings [sic] recent comments in the press about gender and trans people.”

In a statement, Network Rail said the words on the poster were clearly “not at all political”, but said the poster was removed because it was “paid for by a gender recognition reform group”.

“Our advertising code states we will not display anything that supports a political viewpoint, policy or action, or that promotes one viewpoint over another.”

Rowling faced international backlash from LGBT+ people and organisations when she took issue with the inclusive term “people who menstruate”.

She later doubled down on her views in a controversial and lengthy essay on trans lives, which she posted to her own website.

The author recently came under fire yet again when she platformed an anti-trans shop that sells “lesbians don’t have penises” and “f**k your pronouns” merch.

 

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