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23 Jul, 2020 22:13

Kids’ news site coughs up cash after JK Rowling threatens to sue over article suggesting boycott for ‘transphobia’ comments

Kids’ news site coughs up cash after JK Rowling threatens to sue over article suggesting boycott for ‘transphobia’ comments

A kids’ news website has publicly apologized to Harry Potter author JK Rowling and volunteered cash for charity after she threatened a lawsuit over a piece claiming her “transphobic” comments hurt people and merited a boycott.

The Day, a UK news service aimed at British teens, issued a public apology on Wednesday over its June article headlined: “Potterheads cancel Rowling after trans tweet.” The publication admitted the article “implied that what JK Rowling had tweeted was objectionable” and that she had “attacked and harmed trans people.”

“The article was critical of JK Rowling personally and suggested that our readers should boycott her work and shame her into changing her behavior,” the apology, posted on The Day’s website, reads, while insisting their intention was merely “to provoke debate on a complex topic.”

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“We unreservedly apologize to JK Rowling for the offense caused, are happy to retract these false allegations and to set the record straight,” The Day continued, pledging to make a “financial contribution to a charity of JK Rowling’s choice.” 

While they didn’t specify the size of the donation, it’s clear The Day got off easy, financially speaking — given that Rowling had hired libel lawyers with the intention of suing over the piece, which asked readers to contemplate whether it was possible to enjoy quality works of literature created by “deeply unpleasant people.” The article also praised boycotts and “cancellation” as the proper response to Rowling’s supposedly transphobic statements drawing a distinction between transgender and biological women. 

Rowling has doled out multiple legal threats over the recent attempts to ‘cancel’ her. Those efforts began in response to her casual mockery of the phrase “people who menstruate” in an article (instead of “women who menstruate”) — and her subsequent refusal to apologize. 

In May, British Columbian trans activist Nicola Spurling deleted a tweet suggesting the “transphobic” Rowling shouldn’t be trusted around children, after the author suggested she “rethink” the comment “unless you want to hear from lawyers.” 

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The Day is sold by subscription to some 1,500 UK schools and comes recommended by the Department of Education. Its articles - including the ‘cancel Rowling’ story - are sometimes assigned as homework, though with cartoonishly-slanted headlines like “Putin - the most dangerous man in the world” it appears the site prioritizes sensationalism over factual accuracy.

Some staff at Rowling’s publisher Hachette have reportedly refused to work on her latest book ‘The Ickabog’ due to her views on gender, but the publisher has backed the bestselling author. 

In a statement last month, Hachette drew a distinction between employees refusing to work on a book “whose content they [found] upsetting for personal reasons” and employees “refusing to work on a book because they disagree with an author’s views outside their writing,” stating the latter ran contrary to Hachette's “belief in free speech.”

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