No, JK Rowling is not dead.
But fans who have created the hashtag, “RIPJKRowling,” basically want her to be, all because Rowling is practicing her right of speech. This has gone beyond the usual cancel culture.
There was once a time when JK Rowling was one of the world’s greatest role models, especially for women, and everyone loved “Harry Potter.” Now, fans want to end her career over her personal beliefs. But that might be a bit of an overreaction.
The hate from fans started after JK Rowling tweeted her views about transgender people, and then later penned a lengthy letter about it. It immediately got an adverse reaction from transgender-identifying people and their supporters, which included Harry Potter himself, Daniel Radcliffe.
In the three-part tweet , Rowling said:
Rowling closed out her tweets by saying that just because she doesn’t understand trans people doesn’t mean she hates them. She identifies as a female, and that’s it. Here’s the last tweet:
After the backlash and fans were threatening to cancel her, Rowling, joined by 150 other authors and academics, penned a letter to Harper’s Magazine on the dangerousness of cancel culture. It also warned of an “intolerant climate” for free speech.
The letter said:
While we have come to expect this on the radical right, censoriousness is also spreading more widely in our culture: an intolerance of opposing views, a vogue for public shaming and ostracism, and the tendency to dissolve complex policy issues in a blinding moral certainty.
Rowling also penned another essay backing up her earlier tweets, saying:
I’m concerned about the huge explosion in young women wishing to transition and also about the increasing numbers who seem to be detransitioning (returning to their original sex), because they regret taking steps that have, in some cases, altered their bodies irrevocably, and taken away their fertility.
When it was announced that Rowling was releasing a book called “Troubled Blood,” about a male serial killer who dresses up as a woman while killing, fans decided that was the last straw and denounced the author with the hashtag. This is just the thing Rowling and the other academics were trying to warn in their letter.
Rowling is practicing her freedom of speech and releasing a book. Few people agree with the idea behind it, but Rowling is still allowed to release it. Now fans are metaphorically killing her off and tweeting things like:
But this new book is the fifth book in Rowling’s Cormoran Strike series; the second one, “The Silkworm,” had a trans character that was described as “unstable and aggressive.” Where was the backlash then? There was questioning about whether or not she was transphobic , but, at the time, no one wanted her “dead” because of it.
Now she’s given back her Robert F. Kennedy’ Ripple of Hope’ Human Rights Award after the president, Kerry Kennedy, said that Rowling’s views “diminishes the identity” of trans people.
It’s okay that Rowling, her fans, and critics have differing views; that’s human nature. What isn’t okay is that people on social media are so quick to “kill” someone off if they don’t agree with them.
At some point, we’re going to have to learn how to live with each other.