Rowling Controversy Continues

J.K. Rowl­ing’s ongoing commentary online about transgender people led four authors to resign from the Blair Partnership, Rowling’s literary agency: Fox Fisher, Drew Davies, Ugla Stefanía Kristjönudóttir Jónsdót­tir, and an author who chose to remain anonymous. The authors asked their agency “to reaffirm their commitment to transgender rights and equality,” and following discussions with the company, the authors “felt that [agency leaders] were unable to commit to any action that we thought was appropriate and meaningful.” They said, “Freedom of speech can only be upheld if the structural inequalities that hinder equal opportunities for underrepresented groups are challenged and changed.” Blair Part­nership said it couldn’t abridge the “fundamental freedom” of letting authors express their views, with a spokeswoman saying they support diverse voices but refused to have staff “re-educated.” Jónsdót­tir said, “We tried speaking with them internally before going public…. As trans people it’s just a matter of values…. We don’t want to be associated with an agency that doesn’t value the same things that we do.”

“Four or five” staff members at Hachette UK expressed reluctance to work on Rowling’s new book The Ickabog because they oppose her views on transgender issues, but were told they weren’t allowed to refuse the project. The publisher released a statement that said,

We are proud to publish J.K. 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.

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.

Hachette said, “We are approaching all the con­versations with empathy and compassion and on a case-by-case basis.”

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3 thoughts on “Rowling Controversy Continues

  • August 15, 2020 at 11:53 am

    You guys are a little late in reporting this…and, I believe, an Internet search makes me think some of these writers are the same person.

    • August 15, 2020 at 11:59 am

      Adding a little to say that I’ve found write-ups on this story from the end of June.

  • August 16, 2020 at 11:09 pm

    Yet again the political correctness police are making us liberals look as intolerant as right wingers to a difference of opinion. Do I agree with Rowlings? No. But I defend her right to her opinion.


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