J.K. Rowling's controversial posts about trans women continue to divide her fans, with the furor against her reaching a new level over the weekend, when activists shared the author's home address on Twitter.
The incident has since prompted outrage from her supporters and a lengthy Twitter statement from Rowling on Monday.
"I’ve now received so many death threats I could paper the house with them, and I haven’t stopped speaking out," she wrote in part. "Perhaps — and I’m just throwing this out there – the best way to prove your movement isn’t a threat to women, is to stop stalking, harassing and threatening us."
Last Friday, my family’s address was posted on Twitter by three activist actors who took pictures of themselves in front of our house, carefully positioning themselves to ensure that our address was visible. 1/8
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) November 22, 2021
The trouble appears to have begun on Friday, when activist-performers Holly Stars, Georgia Frost and Richard Energy held a protest ahead of Saturday's Trans Day of Remembrance in front of Rowling's Scotland home to protest what many see as the author's anti-trans viewpoints. They held signs that read "Don't Be a Cissy" and 'Trans Liberation Now" and, while there, took a photo in front of Rowling's house in which the address was visible, then posted it on Twitter.
On Saturday, Stars — whose Twitter account has since been deleted — tweeted, "Yesterday we posted a picture we took at J.K. Rowling's house. While we stand by the photo, since posting it we have received an overwhelming amount of serious and threatening transphobic messages so we have decided to take the photo down. Love to our trans siblings."
Glad you're OK, but thoughts & prayers to the sub-100 follower account that got 5k+ (positive) notifications defending you. pic.twitter.com/Sqp8QFE48D
— Andrew R (@ExcelPope) November 22, 2021
Rowling, and many supporters, later condemned the trio, accusing them of “doxxing” — which is when someone publicly reveals private personal information about an individual or organization online. She also thanked the Scottish police for helping to resolve the situation, and gave a shout-out to other British feminists — including Kathleen Stock, who was forced to resign as a University of Sussex professor after being labeled a "transphobe" — who have recently been targeted by activists as being anti-trans.
“Over the last few years I’ve watched, appalled, as women like Allison Bailey, Raquel Sanchez, Marion Miller, Rosie Duffield, Joanna Cherry, Julie Bindel, Rosa Freedman, Kathleen Stock and many, many others, including women who have no public profile,” she continued. “But who’ve contacted me to relate their experiences, have been subject to campaigns of intimidation which range from being hounded on social media, the targeting of their employers, all the way up to doxing and direct threats of violence, including rape.”
“None of these women are protected in the way I am. They and their families have been put into a state of fear and distress for no other reason than that they refuse to uncritically accept that the socio-political concept of gender identity should replace that of sex," she wrote.
"I have to assume that @IAmGeorgiaFrost, @hollywstars and @Richard_Energy_ thought doxxing me would intimidate me out of speaking up for women’s sex-based rights. They should have reflected on the fact that I’ve now received so many death threats I could paper the house with them, and I haven’t stopped speaking out. Perhaps — and I’m just throwing this out there — the best way to prove your movement isn’t a threat to women, is to stop stalking, harassing and threatening us.”
The war between trans activists and Rowling began in December 2019, when the author gave public support to Maya Forstater — a U.K. woman who was fired for noting, among other beliefs, that it is "impossible to change sex" — after a judge ruled that her views were not protected under Britain’s anti-discrimination laws (though she later won an appeal and posted a video thanking Rowling for her support).
“Dress however you please. Call yourself whatever you like. Sleep with any consenting adult who’ll have you. Live your best life in peace and security,” Rowling tweeted at the time. “But force women out of their jobs for stating that sex is real?”
Then, in May 2020, Rowling accidentally tweeted a message with an expletive that misgendered a trans woman named Tara Wolf, who was convicted in 2017 of assaulting a woman she referred to as a TERF (“trans-exclusionary radical feminist”), a term used to describe anti-trans feminists or women who exclude trans women in conversations about women’s rights.
Rowling apologized for the tweet and later deleted it.
The author went viral again in June 2020 when she retweeted an op-ed, taking issue with its use of the term "people who menstruate." Soon after, trans activists and allies, many of them formerly-loyal fans, began accusing her of being a TERF.
If sex isn’t real, there’s no same-sex attraction. If sex isn’t real, the lived reality of women globally is erased. I know and love trans people, but erasing the concept of sex removes the ability of many to meaningfully discuss their lives. It isn’t hate to speak the truth.
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) June 6, 2020
Friday's protest and subsequent doxxing isn’t the first time Rowling has been under attack by those who oppose her beliefs, revealing in July that things had escalated into death threats.
To be fair, when you can’t get a woman sacked, arrested or dropped by her publisher, and cancelling her only made her book sales go up, there’s really only one place to go. pic.twitter.com/MsNWXhWlyc
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) July 19, 2021
When a user asked if the threat was, in part, because of comments she made about the trans community, Rowling confirmed “yes."
"Hundreds of trans activists have threatened to beat, rape, assassinate and bomb me," she said, saying that she’s since realized "that this movement poses no risk to women whatsoever."
Yes, but now hundreds of trans activists have threatened to beat, rape, assassinate and bomb me I’ve realised that this movement poses no risk to women whatsoever. pic.twitter.com/qb1RrCFqy0
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) July 19, 2021
The latest incident came on the heels of reports that Rowling, creator of the Harry Potter series, is absent from the lineup of a new television special that will celebrate the 20-year anniversary of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. The special, featuring in-depth cast interviews, will premiere on HBO Max on New Year's Day.