JK Rowling accuses novelist of ‘betrayal’ in aftermath of Salman Rushdie threats

JK Rowling has hit out at novelist and chair of the Society of Authors, Joanne Harris


JK Rowling has accused a novelist of “betrayal” in the aftermath of the threats she received following the Salman Rushdie attack.

Police said they are investigating a report of an “online threat” made to Ms Rowling after she tweeted her reaction to the stabbing of Sir Salman.

The Harry Potter author, 57, shared screenshots of a message from a user who had written “don’t worry you are next” in response to her tweet about Sir Salman.

Rowling had said she felt “very sick” after hearing the news and hoped Sir Salman would “be OK”.

JK Rowling
JK Rowling
Sir Salman Rushdie
Sir Salman Rushdie

But following the threats Chocolat novelist and chair of the Society of Authors, Joanne Harris, who is an advocate of trans rights, published a poll on social media.

Harris wrote: “Fellow-authors... have you ever received a death threat (credible or otherwise).”

The options were: “Yes”, “Hell, yes”, “No, never” and “Show me, dammit”.

Several writers hit out at the tweet, including Julie Bindel, who described it as “disgustingly inappropriate”.

While Ms Rowling said she had "received no communication whatsoever from Harris expressing sympathy for the death and rape threats I've received".

She added: “Harris has consistently failed to criticise tactics designed to silence and intimidate women who disagree with her personal position on gender identity ideology and has said publicly, 'Cancel isn't a dirty word. We habitually cancel things we no longer want.'”

"I find it impossible to square the society's stated position on freedom of speech with Harris's public statements over the past two years and stand in solidarity with all female writers in the UK who currently feel betrayed by their professional body and its leader,” she told The Times.

Harris has since hit back on Twitter, saying: “I support trans rights. I also have a son who came out as trans a few months ago. But my personal feelings about the gender-critical movement don't affect my belief in free speech, or what I do for the Society of Authors.

“We vigorously promote free speech. But free speech comes with an equal right to a response.

“JK Rowling has every right to her opinions. I may not share them, but that's fine. And I totally condemn any threats to her, as I do to anyone. I think the literary world can do better than this fabricated culture war, and that's what I'm trying to do.

“Sometimes, it's exhausting. But just because I won't take your side, or join your hashtag, or be in your gang, doesn't mean your rights won't be fought for as fiercely as anyone else's. Because rights are more important than politics. We're all in this together.”