Critics attack JK Rowling for ‘praising right-wing’ commentator’s ‘transphobic’ film

JK Rowling was attacked after an interaction with Matt Walsh (Picture: Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images for Warner Bros.)

has appeared to be the focus of outrage after seemingly praising the work of a self-branded ‘theocratic fascist’ over a documentary which asked people what it means to be a woman.

Ah yes, the question that seems to come up almost daily from commentators in what is appearing to be, to many, a bad-faith ploy.

The people became enraged overnight after the author, who has which cause huge distress for the trans community, engaged in conversation with American conservative political commentator Matt Walsh, after Walsh slammed Macy Gray’s latest comments on ‘what it means to be a woman’.

Last week the I Try hitmaker faced intense backlash (yet ) after she told ’s Uncensored, when asked what a woman was: ‘I’d say a human being with boobs. You have to start there. And a vagina!’

After she , insisting ‘you are what you feel in your heart’, Walsh, who has compared transgender healthcare for children to molestation and rape, wrote: ‘Sorry but women who publicly renounce the definition of “woman” for fear of mean comments from trans activists deserve all the scorn they get. That kind of gutless cowardice is exactly what got us into this position in the first place.’

In response to Walsh’s tweet, Rowling chimed in, telling those who ‘don’t understand what happens to women who stand up on this issue’ to ‘back off’.

She wrote: ‘Endless death and rape threats, threats of loss of livelihood, employers targeted, physical harassment, family address posted online with picture of bomb-making manual aren’t ‘mean comments’. If you don’t yet understand what happens to women who stand up on this issue, back off.’

However, Walsh – whose Twitter account was suspended earlier this year after he shared what the platform deemed to be offensive speech towards the trans community, as he previously vowed to ‘wage an all-out assault on gender ideology’ – insisted ‘all those things and then some’ had happened to him because of his film, The Daily Wire documentary What is a Woman?

Walsh had a back and forth with Rowling over Gray’s latest comment (Picture: Jason Kempin/Getty Images)

He added: ‘But if I had backed down and crumbled to the trans activists, I’d deserve to be scorned for it. Cowardice is what empowers these people. Nothing will ever improve until people stop caving.’

Walsh went on: ‘I respect the courage you’ve shown on this issue, @jk_rowling. But many people have simply caved to the demands of trans activists and completely surrendered truth and reality to them. The cowards are also villains in this story. They need to be held accountable.’

At this, and this is what has seen people share their dismay, Rowling went on to praise Walsh’s film at ‘exposing the incoherence of gender identity theory’ – albeit before insisting she still wouldn’t attack a woman, such as Gray.

She wrote: ‘And your film did a good job exposing the incoherence of gender identity theory and some of the harms it’s done. Many institutions I used to admire have uncritically embraced this dogma, but I reserve my ire for them rather than shouting ‘coward’ at individual women.’

Be that as it may, after one Twitter user insisted to Rowling that Walsh was ‘sticking up’ for people like her, the author insisted: ‘I’m not there for men calling women cowards when they never have to face this stuff themselves, nor am I ok with white guys publicly telling black women how to comport themselves. Men whose default is policing women’s speech and actions are not allies. [sic]’

Walsh starred in the documentary What is a Woman?, which was released last month, and coincided with Pride Month, featuring Walsh asking the question ‘what is a woman?’ to strangers as well as experts.

The author has been criticised for previous comments around trans women (Picture: Taylor Hill/FilmMagic)

While the documentary faced allegations that people were asked to participate under false pretences, according to the commentator: ‘Most of the people we talked to either didn’t want to talk about it or they appeared to be confused about something as simple as what a woman is.’

So it perhaps goes without saying that, despite the controversial nature of Rowling’s previous sentiments on trans people – while she has denied being transphobic – many were left shocked at her praise of his documentary.

One wrote in response: ‘Not usually what I like to talk about…but JK Rowling is just straight up palling around with a guy who is (and calls himself) a fascist and the cis world is just like “that’s fine” and maybe I was being naïve but I thought that when this inevitably happened someone might care.’

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While one asked Rowling to ‘delete your positive reply to this guy’s account’, another wrote: ‘The fact that JK Rowling is on the same side of the “trans debate” as Matt f***ing Walsh should be an enormous red flag.’

Rowling returned to the platform to clarify her stance on the issue, insisting to ‘men in my mentions telling me I should support the bullying of other women into the ‘correct’ position’: ‘You’re advocating that I become what I hate. Those are the tactics of the misogynist movement women are currently fighting.’

She went on: ‘If your sole contribution to the discussion on the erosion of women’s rights is to wade in and start haranguing and lecturing women on how to behave and think, you’ve got far more in common with what I’m standing against than you have with me.’

For the past couple of years, Rowling has sparked controversy with her comments on the trans community, having criticised an article which referred to ‘people who menstruate’.

Taking issue with the phrasing, she wrote: ‘”People who menstruate”. I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?’

Her remark was immediately hit with criticism, with many branding the writer transphobic and explaining that it’s not just cis-gender women who menstruate.

While the writer denied that she is transphobic, she went on to fuel tensions with trans equality groups in April this year when she attended a lunch with women’s rights campaigners, with her company including Sex Matters co-founder Maya Forstater and Professor Kathleen Stock, who resigned from the University of Sussex amid a transphobia row.

While Harry Potter stars, including Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint, shared their support for the trans community after the comments, many have come to Rowling’s defence, with Countdown star Rachel Riley believing the attacks against Rowling stemmed from her support for Jewish people.

Reps for Rowling declined to comment when approached by


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