Author J.K. Rowling says she has a “love-hate relationship” with social media’s “pub argument” environment.
If anyone knows how ugly things can get on social media, it’s the creator of the Harry Potter series of children’s books. Rowling has repeatedly been attacked online by the LGBTQ community for her perceived “anti-trans” stance and, recently, she was tweeted a death threat for her support of fellow author Salman Rushdie, who was stabbed earlier this month.
Speaking Saturday on British talk-show host Graham Norton’s radio show, Rowling said she tries to follow the Golden Rule online.
“I try to behave online as I would like others to behave,” she said when asked how society might dial down the online rhetoric. “I’ve never threatened anyone. I certainly wouldn’t want anyone to go to their houses or anything like that.”
As American Wire reported, after tweeting her support for author Salman Rushdie, who was stabbed by Shia sympathizer Hadi Matar at a lecture in New York, Rowling received an ominous message from another suspected extremist.
“Do not worry you are next,” warned a Twitter user who goes by the name Meer Asif Aziz.
Feeling very sick right now. Let him be ok.
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) August 12, 2022
Rowling turned to Twitter support for help and a police investigation was launched.
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) August 13, 2022
Despite the frightening exchange, Rowling told Norton that the “pub argument aspect” of social media “can be a fun thing to do.”
Even so, she admitted, she now has a “love-hate relationship” with platforms such as Twitter. Her absence lasted for about a year, after which a children’s book she was writing pulled her back into the fray.
While sites such as Twitter “can be a lot of fun,” Rowling warns, “there’s no doubt that social media is a gift for people who want to behave in a malign way.”
As for this month’s “Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts” HBO special– from which Rowling was notably absent — the author said she wasn’t excluded. She declined the invitation to attend.
“I was asked to be on that, and I decided I didn’t want to do it,” she said. “I thought it was about the films more than the books, you know, quite rightly. That was what the anniversary was about.”
“No one said don’t come,” she stated, dispelling the rumor that she was snubbed for her views on transgender issues. “I was asked to do it and I decided not to.”
In 2020, Rowling came under fire from the LGBTQ community for tweeting about the “concept of sex.”
“If sex isn’t real, there’s no same-sex attraction,” she stated. “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.”
“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,” she continued. “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.”
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.
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) June 6, 2020
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.
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) June 6, 2020
But, while the stars of the iconic series of Harry Potter films have spoken out against Rowling’s comments, the author says she still keeps in touch with Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint, who played “Harry,” “Hermione,” and “Ron,” respectively.
She speaks with “some more than others,” Rowling said, “but that was always the case.”
Listen to Rowling’s complete interview with Graham Norton below:
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