After Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling posted a series of transphobic tweets last week, a growing number of trans activists and allies have been attempting to educate the billionaire writer about the trans experience to seemingly no avail.
Now, according to the Daily Mail, staff at the publishing house Hachette, which is publishing her upcoming children’s book, The Ickabog, are threatening to stop production out of protest because of her anti-trans views.
“Staff in the children’s department at Hachette announced they were no longer prepared to work on the book,” one source told the Mail about a particular meeting, described as an “internal war,” this week. “They said they were opposed to her comments and wanted to show support for the trans lobby.”
“It was a handful of staff, and they are entitled to their views,” another source added. “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.”
Despite the outcry, the publisher issued a statement making clear that it doesn’t support staff boycotting an author’s work because their personal views are different from their own.
“We are proud to publish J.K. Rowling’s children’s fairy tale The Ickabog,” the statement read. “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. 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.”
In her initial tweets, Rowling invoked anti-trans language used by trans-exclusionary radical feminists (TERFs), implying that trans women aren’t real women.
She would later follow up the tweets by dragging lesbians into her rant by retweeting a story titled "Anonymous Letter From a Terrified Lesbian" on the TERF site The Velvet Chronicle.
"I've never felt as shouted down, ignored, and targeted as a lesbian *within* our supposed GLBT community as I have over the past couple of years," she quoted from the article.
Last December, Rowling tweeted support of a British woman, Maya Forstater, who was fired for her anti-trans rhetoric on social media.
“Dress however you please. Call yourself whatever you like. Sleep with any consenting adult who’ll have you. Live your best life in peace and security,” she tweeted at the time. “But force women out of their jobs for stating that sex is real? #IStandWithMaya #ThisIsNotADrill”