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J.K. Rowling deletes tweet praising Stephen King after he shows support for trans women

(L-R) Authors Stephen King and J.K. Rowling.
(L-R) Authors Stephen King and J.K. Rowling. CP Images Archives

Only hours after posting public praise for Stephen King on her Twitter account, British author J.K. Rowling deleted her remarks on Sunday as the fellow novelist showed support for transgender women on the social media platform.

Rowling, who has become the subject of widespread controversy after repeatedly making transphobic comments last month, commended The Shining writer after he seemingly showed support for her by retweeting one of her posts on June 28.

The tweet in question came in response to an accusation from British Labour MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle who, in a Tribune article last week, claimed that Rowling had used her experience as a domestic abuse survivor merely as an excuse to discriminate against transgender women.

Defending herself in a Twitter thread, the Harry Potter author quoted the late American feminist Andrea Dworkin, writing: “Men often react to women’s words — speaking and writing — as if they were acts of violence; sometimes men react to women’s words with violence.”

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Rowling added: “It isn’t hateful for women speak about their own experiences, nor do they deserve shaming for doing so.”

A since-deleted tweet about American novelist Stephen King, published by British author J.K. Rowling on June 28, 2020.
A since-deleted tweet about American novelist Stephen King, published by British author J.K. Rowling on June 28, 2020. J.K. Rowling/Twitter

Upon being retweeted by King, Rowling wrote that her “love” for the writer had reached “new heights” before thanking the 72-year-old personally.

“I’ve always revered Stephen King, but today my love reached — maybe not Annie Wilkes levels — but new heights,” Rowling wrote. “It’s so much easier for men to ignore women’s concerns, or to belittle them, but I won’t ever forget the men who stood up when they didn’t need to. Thank you, Stephen.”

Hours later, however, Rowling deleted her message of appreciation after King responded to another user on Twitter, saying: “Trans women are women.”

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The Twitter user asked King to “address the TERF tweet” and clarify whether he believes trans women are women.

“Yes. Trans women are women,” King replied.

Though Rowling was never explicitly named in the tweet, she has been labelled a “TERF” — which stands for trans-exclusionary radical feminist — many times since making several “dismissive” and transphobic comments earlier this month in which she conflated sex and gender.

It was shortly after King showed support for the trans community that Rowling’s public praise of him disappeared from the social media platform.

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As of this writing, she no longer appears to follow King on Twitter, either.

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The controversy surrounding Rowling began on June 6 after she fired off a tweet in which she bristled at the headline of an opinion piece published by Devex, which reads: “Creating a more equal post-COVID-19 world for people who menstruate.”

“’People who menstruate,’” the Gloucestershire-born author tweeted in response. “I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?”

Rowling has made repeated comments in the past conflating sex and gender.

J.K. Rowling responds to backlash triggered by transphobic tweets
J.K. Rowling responds to backlash triggered by transphobic tweets

However, according to the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, sex is based on biological attributes such as physical and physiological features, including chromosomes and reproductive organs, while gender “refers to the socially constructed roles, behaviours, expressions and identities of girls, women, boys, men and gender-diverse people.”

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As a result of her public remarks, Rowling became the subject of major backlash — specifically from the trans community — with many social media users pointing out that people aren’t required to menstruate in order to be considered a woman, or vice versa.

Read more: J.K. Rowling doubles down on transphobic comments, reveals she’s an abuse survivor

Following Rowling’s defence against Russell-Moyle, the openly gay politician apologized “unreservedly” for his initial comments about the Harry Potter creator via Twitter on Sunday.

“J.K. Rowling’s first disclosures of domestic abuse and sexual assault in her recent article on trans issues were heartfelt and must have been hard to say,” he wrote. “Whilst I may disagree with some of her analysis on trans rights, it was wrong of me to suggest that she used her own dreadful experience in anything other than good faith.”

Russell-Moyle then revealed that he had requested that the Tribune remove the “line in question” from the article.

Labour MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle speaks in the House of Commons, in London, Britain, Nov. 29, 2018.
Labour MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle speaks in the House of Commons, in London, Britain, Nov. 29, 2018. Parbul TV/Handout via Reuters TV

After Rowling revealed earlier this month that she’s been a domestic abuse and sexual assault survivor for more than 25 years, many social media users said the author’s history of abuse was not “relevant” to her offensive transgender remarks and that she was simply trying to “play victim” or “garner sympathy.”

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Rowling, however, said: “I’m mentioning these things now not in an attempt to garner sympathy, but out of solidarity with the huge numbers of women who have histories like mine, who’ve been slurred as bigots for having concerns around single-sex spaces.”

adam.wallis@globalnews.ca