If there’s anyone who could give a Master Class on how to completely ruin your reputation as a beloved public figure who is a role model to children across the world, it’s JK Rowling.
Over the past couple of years, the writer has worked hard to undo all the goodwill she had built with her wildly popular Harry Potter series to peddle a dangerous transphobic agenda, and faced enormous backlash online because of the same.
So it shouldn’t be a surprise that the author’s new book in the ‘Cormoran Strike’ series, written under the pen name Robert Galbraith, is about a transphobic content creator who is found murdered for having an opinion, as Rolling Stone reports.
The Ink Black Heart, the sixth instalment in the crime series featuring gruff detective Strike and his assistant Robin Ellacott, is a case of art imitating life, but Rowling denies that firmly.
In a statement on the blog The Rowling Library, the writer addressed the fact that her book has incredible parallels to her own life, in that the victim’s personal information gets leaked online, leading her to receive rape and death threats online. Rowling had also claimed that she was doxxed but the Scottish Police came to the conclusion that trans activist posting photos outside her house with signs is not ‘doxxing’ as the same house has been pictured multiple times in the media by her own accord and the information was already out in public.
But the author denies writing the book as a reaction to the backlash she faced for her transphobia. “I have never created a book—and this book certainly isn’t created from my own experience—you know, with a view to talking about my own life,” she wrote, “That doesn’t mean, of course, that your own life experience isn’t in the book.”
She also revealed that the manuscript was already completed before the Internet discovered she was a TERF (Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminist) and called her out for it.
“I would like to be very clear that I haven’t written this book as an answer to anything that happened to me. Although I have to say when it did happen to me, those who had already read the book in manuscript form were, ‘Are you clairvoyant?’ I wasn’t clairvoyant, I just—yeah, it was just one of those weird twists. Sometimes life imitates art more than one would like.”
Rowling made sure the message drives home during an appearance on the Graham Norton Radio Show, saying, “I had written the book before certain things happened to me online. I said to my husband, ‘I think everyone is going to see this as a response to what happened to me,’ but it genuinely wasn’t. The first draft of the book was finished at the point certain things happened.”
Despite Rowling’s insistence that the book is not based on her life, it’s hard to believe that the character who is a victim of a masterfully plotted hate campaign against her is not coloured by her own perceived victimhood.
The rhetoric has been going on ever since Rowling released a lengthy essay defending her support of fellow TERF Maya Forstater who was facing the consequences of her transphobic comments. Ever since then, the author has continued to double down on her stance against trans women being recognised as women.
Harry Potter actors Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint have condemned her for her comments, with Radcliffe penning a thoughtful letter addressing this.
“Transgender women are women. Any statement to the contrary erases the identity and dignity of transgender people and goes against all advice given by professional health care associations who have far more expertise on this subject matter than either Jo or I,” he wrote.
Rowling even got into a feud with Nicola Sturgeon, the First Minister of Scotland, over the country’s Gender Recognition Reform Bill which was introduced to simplify the process for a transgender person to legally change their gender by obtaining a gender recognition certificate. This certificate also allows a trans person to receive a new birth certificate with their correct gender.
This is not the first time Rowling has had to defend her books for being transphobic. The previous Cormoran Strike novel, Troubled Blood, featured a serial killer who was a ‘crossdresser’.
Whether the book is based on her own experiences or not, it’s clear that its intention is to demonise people who are actively trying to educate the world on gender identities and acceptance by clubbing them under the larger umbrella of dangerous ‘social justice warriors’. But you can read the book yourself to make up your mind.