A news website for children has apologized for saying that J.K. Rowling was “harming minorities” with her anti-transgender after she threatened them with a libel lawsuit.
Rowling – creator of the Harry Potter, supporter of transgender conversion therapy, and unflinching defender of free speech – has reached a settlement with the U.K. current events educational publication The Day after the website discussed the controversy around Rowling’s comments about transgender people.
The June 10 article in The Day – a subscription website used in schools across the U.K. – said that Rowling complained about the expression “people who menstruate” in a health article instead of the word “women” and has been criticized by actor Daniel Radcliffe and other celebrities for her tweets.
Students were asked to consider whether it’s possible to like artwork by “deeply unpleasant people” like misogynist painter Pablo Picasso and antisemitic composer Richard Wagner.
“Since the 1950s, the civil rights movement has used boycotts to take money and status away from people and organizations harming minorities and shame them into change [sic] their behavior,” the article said. “Online it is often called ‘cancelling.'”
Rowling reportedly threatened legal action for the article, and the website agreed to pay an undisclosed sum and publicly apologize.
“We did not intend to suggest that J.K. Rowling was transphobic or that she should be boycotted,” The Day said in a statement. “We accept that our article implied that what J.K. Rowling had tweeted was objectionable and that she had attacked and harmed trans people.”
“Debate about a complex issue where there is a range of legitimate views should have been handled with much more sensitivity and more obvious recognition of the difference between fact and opinion. We unreservedly apologize to J.K. Rowling for the offense 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 J.K. Rowling’s choice.”
After the original article in The Day was published, Rowling wrote a 3700-word rambling diatribe about transgender people and expressed her support for transgender conversion therapy – pseudoscientific techniques with the goal of making transgender people cisgender – on Twitter.
Later in the month, Rowling’s words were read by Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) on the floor of the U.S. Senate to explain why he opposed the Equality Act, which would provide civil rights protections for LGBTQ people.