J.K. Rowling claims she didn’t mean to like a transphobic tweet earlier this week. Harry Potter fans were outraged when the beloved author liked a tweet calling transgender women “men in dresses,” but her rep says it was just a mistake.
According to PinkNews, the tweet came amid a growing debate about transgender women within the left-wing Labour Party. There has been a transphobic call to ban transgender women from the party’s women-only shortlist for Parliament, and some people have even threatened to resign if trans women aren’t taken off.
This led to a Twitter user named Rachel writing, “I was shouted at by men at my first Labour Party meeting aged 18 because I asked them to remove a Page 3 calendar. I’ve been told to toughen up, be louder, stronger, independent. I’ve often not felt supported. Men in dresses get brocialist solidarity I never had. That’s misogyny!”
Rowling, who has been a big supporter of the Labour party, is known for her liberal views and has always been outspoken about politics on Twitter, liked the tweet. This sparked a huge backlash on Twitter. Fans accused Rowling of being transphobic, a trans-exclusionary radical feminist, and more.
But Rowling’s rep says that this was just a big accident.
“I’m afraid J.K. Rowling had a clumsy and middle-aged moment and this is not the first time she has favourited by holding her phone incorrectly,” the rep said.
Rowling did have a trans character in her detective novel The Silkworm, which she wrote under the name Robert Galbraith. But as the Daily Dot points out, Rowling also faced criticism for liking a transphobic article last year.
And this isn’t the only criticism Rowling has faced recently. Fans slammed Rowling when they found out Albus Dumbledore’s sexuality wouldn’t really be shown in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. Rowling revealed the headmaster was gay and fell in love with Gellert Grindelwald when he was younger, so fans assumed we’d see that relationship play out during the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them sequel. But Crimes of Grindelwald director David Yates revealed to EW that Dumbledore’s sexuality wouldn’t “explicitly” be referenced in the movie. Rowling did hint that Dumbledore’s sexuality could come up in later movies.
However, the exclusion in Crimes of Grindelwald had fans accusing Rowling of only caring about straight, white characters and only using diversity for her own benefit and shying away from it when it really mattered.
Rowling also came under fire recently for defending keeping Johnny Depp in The Crimes of Grindelwald despite his alleged abusive behavior towards his then-wife Amber Heard, as EW reported.