‘Harry Potter’ Author JK Rowling ‘Unapproachable’ And Staff Were ‘Terrified,’ Says Ex-PA

JK Rowling profile picture
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A former personal assistant to Harry Potter author JK Rowling, giving evidence at a court case at Airdrie Sheriff Court in Scotland, has described her as being “unapproachable” and said staff would ask about her mood in a terrified manner.

Amanda Donaldson, 36, worked as a PA to the author between February 2014 and April 2017, when she was sacked for gross misconduct, according to the Daily Mail.

Rowling, who has brought the case under her married name of Joanne Murray, accuses her former PA of unauthorized spending to the tune of £23,696.32 (around $30,000) through a combination of unsanctioned use of her corporate credit card and taking Harry Potter merchandise without permission.

JK Rowling collecting an honor at Buckingham Palace
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Donaldson, who disputes the allegations, was giving evidence in her own defense in court. She said that she had applied for the job without knowing who the employer was, but said the two had enjoyed a good relationship for much of the three years she was employed. However, as her testimony revealed, the job was far from what some might see as a dream job.

“The job could be quite tense,” she said. “There were frequent discrepancies which were really not needed but would happen. The job would be quite stressful as well.”

“Mrs Rowling could be really generous,” she went on. “The job was quite tense so I wouldn’t say she was approachable because she would be writing and I was advised not to disturb her. I made a diary entry incorrectly once and got the telling off of my life so I knew how serious things would be. All the decisions were made with the business in mind. You couldn’t run everything by her.

“The office staff would sometimes ask if she was in a good mood if she was coming in, in a terrified manner. You wouldn’t want to upset her but she was generous.”

When asked to give an example of this generosity, Donaldson recalled a time when she was involved in a car crash. “I had a car accident and my six-month old pushchair was damaged and she got me a new one,” she explained.

When asked about her use of the credit card, Donaldson explained, “I was given the card through the post and Mrs Rowling ordered it for me and I was never told what to use it for. I would speak to the accountant and if he had any questions he would ask me but he was happy with what I was submitting.”

Rowling alleges that Donaldson spent thousands of pounds in coffee shops and cosmetics stores, as well as taking more than £3,000 worth of Harry Potter merchandise and stealing £7,742 of foreign money from a safe. The case continues.