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JK Rowling and the publisher’s revolt: Workers at publishing house Hachette threaten to down tools

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Publishing staff working on JK Rowling’s latest book threatened to down tools yesterday in protest at her views on gender.

The Harry Potter author, 54, has endured a storm of protest since expressing ‘deep concerns’ about transgender activism in an essay last week in which she also described being a victim of domestic violence and sexual assault.

Those criticising her have included movie stars she helped make famous.

It led to headlines such as ‘Bonfire of JK Rowling’ as the multi-million-pound empire she created threatened to turn against her.

Yesterday morning at publishing house Hachette, several of those involved in Miss Rowling’s new children’s book, The Ickabog, are said to have staged their own rebellion during a heated meeting. One source said: ‘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. These staff are all very “woke”, mainly in their twenties and early thirties, and apparently it is an issue they feel very strongly about.’

The Harry Potter author, 54, has endured a storm of protest since expressing ‘deep concerns’ about transgender activism in an essay last week in which she also described being a victim of domestic violence and sexual assault

The Harry Potter author, 54, has endured a storm of protest since expressing ‘deep concerns’ about transgender activism in an essay last week in which she also described being a victim of domestic violence and sexual assault

The Harry Potter author, 54, has endured a storm of protest since expressing ‘deep concerns’ about transgender activism in an essay last week in which she also described being a victim of domestic violence and sexual assault

JK Rowling with first husband Jorge Arantes in 1999. She detailed why she has become embroiled in a bitter row on Twitter with campaigners who seek greater rights for men and women changing gender, referring to her experience of domestic abuse during her first marriage to Jorge Arantes

JK Rowling with first husband Jorge Arantes in 1999. She detailed why she has become embroiled in a bitter row on Twitter with campaigners who seek greater rights for men and women changing gender, referring to her experience of domestic abuse during her first marriage to Jorge Arantes

JK Rowling with first husband Jorge Arantes in 1999. She detailed why she has become embroiled in a bitter row on Twitter with campaigners who seek greater rights for men and women changing gender, referring to her experience of domestic abuse during her first marriage to Jorge Arantes

JK Rowling pictured with Rupert Grint, Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson in 2001

JK Rowling pictured with Rupert Grint, Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson in 2001

JK Rowling pictured with Rupert Grint, Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson in 2001

Another insider said: ‘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.’

Hachette is the parent company of Virago Press, a London-based company who publish women’s writing and feminist books. Notable published authors include Maya Angelou, Beatrix Campbell and Angela Carter.

The first two chapters of The Ickabog, which were released online in May, had five million views in its first 24 hours, with visitors from more than 50 countries visiting The Ickabog website, Miss Rowling’s representatives have said. 

Last night Hachette issued a statement backing Miss Rowling’s right to express herself. It said: ‘We are proud to publish JK Rowling’s children’s fairy tale The Ickabog. Freedom of speech is the cornerstone of publishing. 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.

The Harry Potter author, 54, has endured a storm of protest since expressing ‘deep concerns’ about transgender activism

The Harry Potter author, 54, has endured a storm of protest since expressing ‘deep concerns’ about transgender activism

The Harry Potter author, 54, has endured a storm of protest since expressing ‘deep concerns’ about transgender activism 

JK Rowling in 2002 with Emma Watson and Bonnie Wright, who have decided to add fuel to the fire hours after the author's statement

JK Rowling in 2002 with Emma Watson and Bonnie Wright, who have decided to add fuel to the fire hours after the author's statement

JK Rowling in 2002 with Emma Watson and Bonnie Wright, who have decided to add fuel to the fire hours after the author’s statement

‘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.’

It is not the first time Hachette has faced a mutiny. Staff at the firm’s New York office staged a walkout in March in protest at its decision to publish Woody Allen’s autobiography. The 84-year-old filmmaker has been accused by his daughter Dylan Farrow of molesting her in the early 1990s, claims he denies.

‘Heartbroken’ editor of world’s biggest Harry Potter fan site urges people to stop buying JK Rowling’s books 

The editor of the world’s biggest Harry Potter fan site has urged supporters to stop buying JK Rowling’s books and films over the author’s ‘transphobia’ row.

Ms Rowling has faced an intense backlash since she took issue with an online article about ‘people who menstruate’ last week – including from actors starring in the movie adaptations of her novels, such as Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson.

Then it emerged that a school in West Sussex dropped its plans to name a house after the author, telling parents Ms Rowling was ‘no longer an appropriate role model for our community’.

Melissa Anelli, who runs The Leaky Couldron site, has encouraged people not to buy her products, as she pointed her 28,000 followers to another post from a Harry Potter podcast, which offered ‘a guide to cancelling’ the author.  

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It has been a tumultuous few days for Miss Rowling since she posted a 3,600-word essay on her website about the pressures young people face to transition to another gender.

She even claimed she might have become a man – ‘to turn myself into the son my father had openly said he’d have preferred’ – if she had been subjected to similar pressures when she was a teenager.

She detailed why she has become embroiled in a bitter row on Twitter with campaigners who seek greater rights for men and women changing gender, referring to her experience of domestic abuse during her first marriage to Jorge Arantes.

Her essay drew widespread support but also stinging criticism from Harry Potter stars Daniel Radcliffe, who is worth £87million, Emma Watson, worth £52million and Rupert Grint, worth £40million. They issued statements in support of transgender people, pointedly not backing Miss Rowling.

Miss Rowling wrote The Ickabog more than a decade ago. She put the script in her attic but brought it out during the lockdown, posting daily instalments online. It will be published in November, with Miss Rowling, who is worth £795million, giving her royalties to help those affected by coronavirus.

Hachette UK boss David Shelley is an Oxford graduate lauded as one of the UK’s most influential gay executives. He is credited with making the publisher ‘more inclusive and diverse’.

A friend of Miss Rowling was quoted in the Sunday Times as saying: ‘She knows the commercial partners would rather she didn’t say anything, but her publishers recognise she has a right to speak her mind.’

Daniel Radcliffe lashes out at JK Rowling over her comments about transgender people and apologises to Harry Potter fans if her remarks have ‘tarnished or diminished’ their love of her books

Daniel Radcliffe slammed Harry Potter author JK Rowling over her comments about transgender people.  

The actor, 30, felt compelled to make a statement about the acclaimed novelist, after she tweeted about an article entitled ‘Creating a more equal post COVID-19 world for people who menstruate’ on Friday.

Rowling wrote: ”People who menstruate.’ I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?’ 

In response, Radcliffe hit out at the author who made him famous, saying: ‘To all the people who now feel that their experience of the books has been tarnished or diminished, I am deeply sorry for the pain these comments have caused you’. 

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Taking a stand: Daniel Radcliffe has slammed Harry Potter author JK Rowling after she criticised the use of the term 'people who menstruate' as opposed to the word woman

Taking a stand: Daniel Radcliffe has slammed Harry Potter author JK Rowling after she criticised the use of the term 'people who menstruate' as opposed to the word woman

Taking a stand: Daniel Radcliffe has slammed Harry Potter author JK Rowling over her comments about transgender people

Radcliffe wrote: ‘Transgender women are women. Any statement to the contrary erases the identity and dignity of transgender people and goes against all advice given by professional health care associations who have far more expertise on this subject matter than either Jo or I’. 

He continued: ‘I realize that certain press outlets will probably want to paint this as in-fighting between JK Rowling and myself, but that is really not what this is about, nor is it what’s important right now. 

‘While Jo is unquestionably responsible for the course my life has taken, as someone who has been honored to work with and continues to contribute to The Trevor Project for the last decade, and just as a human being, I feel compelled to say something at this moment.’

Radcliffe, 30, released his statement via The Trevor Project last Monday.  

Hitting back: His statement came after Rowling made her opinions known, tweeting about an article entitled 'Creating a more equal post COVID-19 world for people who menstruate.'

Hitting back: His statement came after Rowling made her opinions known, tweeting about an article entitled 'Creating a more equal post COVID-19 world for people who menstruate.'

Taking a stand: He has made a statement about Rowling, after she tweeted about an article entitled ‘Creating a more equal post COVID-19 world for people who menstruate’

Daniel Radcliffe released a statement with The Trevor Project, an American non-profit organization founded in 1998 focused on suicide prevention efforts among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning youth

Daniel Radcliffe released a statement with The Trevor Project, an American non-profit organization founded in 1998 focused on suicide prevention efforts among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning youth

Daniel Radcliffe released a statement with The Trevor Project, an American non-profit organization founded in 1998 focused on suicide prevention efforts among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning youth

The Trevor Project is an American non-profit organization founded in 1998 focused on suicide prevention efforts among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning youth. 

 ‘According to The Trevor Project, 78% of transgender and nonbinary youth reported being the subject of discrimination due to their gender identity…  

‘It’s clear that we need to do more to support transgender and nonbinary people, not invalidate their identities, and not cause further harm,’ Radcliffe said. 

He went on to share resources for trans allies, as he admitted: ‘I am still learning how to be a better ally.’ 

DANIEL RADCLIFFE RESPONDS TO J.K. ROWLING’S TWEETS ON GENDER IDENTITY 

By Daniel Radcliffe 

I realize that certain press outlets will probably want to paint this as in-fighting between J.K. Rowling and myself, but that is really not what this is about, nor is it what’s important right now. While Jo is unquestionably responsible for the course my life has taken, as someone who has been honored to work with and continues to contribute to The Trevor Project for the last decade, and just as a human being, I feel compelled to say something at this moment.

Transgender women are women. Any statement to the contrary erases the identity and dignity of transgender people and goes against all advice given by professional health care associations who have far more expertise on this subject matter than either Jo or I. According to The Trevor Project, 78% of transgender and nonbinary youth reported being the subject of discrimination due to their gender identity. It’s clear that we need to do more to support transgender and nonbinary people, not invalidate their identities, and not cause further harm.

I am still learning how to be a better ally, so if you want to join me in learning more about transgender and nonbinary identities check out The Trevor Project’s Guide to Being an Ally to Transgender and Nonbinary Youth. It’s an introductory educational resource that covers a wide range of topics, including the differences between sex and gender, and shares best practices on how to support transgender and nonbinary people.

To all the people who now feel that their experience of the books has been tarnished or diminished, I am deeply sorry for the pain these comments have caused you. I really hope that you don’t entirely lose what was valuable in these stories to you. If these books taught you that love is the strongest force in the universe, capable of overcoming anything; if they taught you that strength is found in diversity, and that dogmatic ideas of pureness lead to the oppression of vulnerable groups; if you believe that a particular character is trans, nonbinary, or gender fluid, or that they are gay or bisexual; if you found anything in these stories that resonated with you and helped you at any time in your life — then that is between you and the book that you read, and it is sacred. And in my opinion nobody can touch that. It means to you what it means to you and I hope that these comments will not taint that too much.

Love always,

Dan

Discussing: JK Rowling went on an extraordinary rant on Twitter last week

Discussing: JK Rowling went on an extraordinary rant on Twitter last week

Discussing: JK Rowling went on an extraordinary rant on Twitter last week

Radcliffe also reached out to loyal Harry Potter fans: ‘If these books taught you that love is the strongest force in the universe, capable of overcoming anything…

‘If they taught you that strength is found in diversity, and that dogmatic ideas of pureness lead to the oppression of vulnerable groups…

‘If you believe that a particular character is trans, nonbinary, or gender fluid, or that they are gay or bisexual; if you found anything in these stories that resonated with you and helped you at any time in your life — then that is between you and the book that you read, and it is sacred. 

‘And in my opinion nobody can touch that. It means to you what it means to you and I hope that these comments will not taint that too much.’ 

Not important: He wrote: 'I realize that certain press outlets will probably want to paint this as in-fighting between JK Rowling and myself, but that is really not what this is about, nor is it what’s important right now' (pictured in July, 2011)

Not important: He wrote: 'I realize that certain press outlets will probably want to paint this as in-fighting between JK Rowling and myself, but that is really not what this is about, nor is it what’s important right now' (pictured in July, 2011)

Not important: He wrote: ‘I realize that certain press outlets will probably want to paint this as in-fighting between JK Rowling and myself, but that is really not what this is about, nor is it what’s important right now’ (pictured in July, 2011)

He starred as the titular wizard in all eight of the Harry Potter movies, originating the role at the age of 11 in 2000’s Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. 

The British writer followed up in a thread: ‘If sex isn’t real, there’s no same-sex attraction. If sex isn’t real, the lived reality of women globally is erased. 

‘I know and love trans people, but erasing the concept of sex removes the ability of many to meaningfully discuss their lives. It isn’t hate to speak the truth.’

She continued: ‘The idea that women like me, who’ve been empathetic to trans people for decades, feeling kinship because they’re vulnerable in the same way as women – ie, to male violence – ‘hate’ trans people because they think sex is real and has lived consequences – is a nonsense.

Hogwarts alum: He starred as the titular wizard in all eight of the Harry Potter movies, originating the role at the age of 11 in 2000's Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

Hogwarts alum: He starred as the titular wizard in all eight of the Harry Potter movies, originating the role at the age of 11 in 2000's Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

Hogwarts alum: He starred as the titular wizard in all eight of the Harry Potter movies, originating the role at the age of 11 in 2000’s Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

‘I respect every trans person’s right to live any way that feels authentic and comfortable to them. 

‘I’d march with you if you were discriminated against on the basis of being trans. At the same time, my life has been shaped by being female. I do not believe it’s hateful to say so.’

In December, Rowling discussed the trans community, in a move which earned her the label of trans-exclusionary radical feminist (TERF).

Her most recent comments were met with backlash from many fans and followers, as well as some notable names like Jameela Jamil, Sarah Paulson, Jonathan Van Ness and more. 

Jameela Jamil challenged her to put her money where her mouth is, tweeting her a GoFundMe link for homeless Black trans women in Atlanta.

She wrote: ‘Hey JK as you claim to support trans rights and this is a historical moment where we are globally discussing the impact of white supremacy on Black People, please share some of your $650million mega wealth with this charity.’

Sarah Paulson wrote, ‘Word. Goodnight and shut up @jk_rowling’ while retweeting creative producer Ben O’Keefe.

He wrote: ‘This woman is complete scum. Shut the f*** up you transphobic f***. You don’t know or love any trans people if you won’t even acknowledge their existence…

‘Thanks for ruining the books of my childhood. Just stop talking. We know you’re a TERF. You don’t need to keep doing this.’

Van Ness, who identifies as non-binary, responded to the author: ‘Trans women are women. Trans Black people & trans non-Black people are discriminated against every single day. They’re dying. We’re fighting for Black people & trans people and you’re doing this?’ 

Tegan and Sara issued an ultimatum to their followers: ‘If you are a TERF and following us, please f*** off and unfollow us.’

Mara Wilson called Rowling out further: ‘How did she manage to have a victim complex about all of this?’

Anthony Rapp used the opportunity to promote GLAAD and some organizations that support Black trans people.

He wrote: ‘Amplifying this. Amazing and horrifying that a hugely powerful, super rich white lady chose to double- and triple- and quadruple-punch down on the #Trans community.’

Mary Lambert responded to Rowling: ‘What the actual fuck??? This is so disgraceful, @jk_rowling. Of all the hills to die on, and for what reason? Trans women are women and they are fighting for their lives. When you push this trans exclusionary agenda, you make their lives infinitely more difficult. Shame on you.’

A representative for Rowling declined to comment when approached by DailyMail.com.

This is not the first time she has come under fire over the topic, liking a 2018 tweet that referred to transgender women as ‘men in dresses.’ 

At the time, a spokesperson told The Sun that Rowling’s like was a ‘clumsy and middle-aged moment.’

She previously confirmed suspicions of her transphobic views back in December, while showing support for Maya Forstater, who lost a court case against her former employers after they fired her over transphobic comments.

Rowling tweeted: ‘Dress however you please. Call yourself whatever you like. Sleep with any consenting adult who’ll have you…

Re-think: Elsewhere, Jonathan Ross backtracked on his comments about J.K. Rowling, after he defended the Harry Potter novelist's remarks about transgender people [pictured in 2015]

Re-think: Elsewhere, Jonathan Ross backtracked on his comments about J.K. Rowling, after he defended the Harry Potter novelist's remarks about transgender people [pictured in 2015]

Re-think: Elsewhere, Jonathan Ross backtracked on his comments about J.K. Rowling, after he defended the Harry Potter novelist’s remarks about transgender people [pictured in 2015]

‘Live your best life in peace and security. But force women out of their jobs for stating that sex is real? #IStandWithMaya #ThisIsNotADrill’.

Elsewhere, Jonathan Ross backtracked on his comments about J.K. Rowling, after he defended the Harry Potter novelist’s remarks about transgender people.

The chat show host, 59, took to Twitter on Monday evening to admit that his 23-year-old daughter Honey had helped him see things from a different view.

This comes after Honey slammed Rowling for her comments about the use of the word woman, despite her famous father defending the author.

DailyMail Online


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