Police chief’s JK Rowling tweet not ‘dignified or respectful’ to trans people, panel rules

JK Rowling and Lisa Townsend

Surrey’s Police and Crime Commissioner Lisa Townsend has been reprimanded for sharing an anti-trans tweet from JK Rowling.

In December 2021, Rowling took to Twitter to comment on reports of a Police Scotland chief saying the force would not misgender trans people accused of rape, in light of new self-ID proposals.

The Harry Potter author, referencing George Orwell’s novel 1984, tweeted: “War is Peace. Freedom is Slavery. Ignorance is Strength. The Penised Individual Who Raped You Is a Woman.”

Despite the tweet being met with international criticism – even Queer Eye star Jonathan Van Ness said Rowling of spreading “cherry-picked vitriol” – Tory crime commissioner Townsend decided to retweet it while adding her own thoughts.

She wrote: “It’s not a ‘niche’ issue, it’s not hysterical for women to be taking to the streets about it. We will not accept this gaslighting from men who keep telling us they are women, or from those who enable them. #IStandWithJKRowling.”

In an interview with right-wing journalist Josephine Bartosch, Townsend claimed that Conservative MP Crispin Blunt, chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on LGBT+ rights, had confronted her about the tweet in a phone call.

Later, she said, he submitted a complaint about her comments to the Surrey Police and Crime Panel (PCP). According to the Daily Mail, Blunt said in his complaint that her “messaging propagates dangerous myths”.

On Tuesday (8 March), the Surrey PCP’s complaints subcommittee published its findings, ruling that her tweet was not “dignified or respectful”.

Townsend said that two other people also submitted complaints about her comments. Despite the subcommittee’s ruling, Townsend refuses to accept that there was anything wrong with her comments, insisting: “This issue has really brought home to me just how many men feel threatened by women with opinions.”

Lisa Townsend and Crispin Blunt have been approached for comment by PinkNews.

As well as supporting JK Rowling, Surrey crime commissioner Lisa Townsend has claimed that Stonewall is a ‘threat to women’

Last year, Surrey Police and Crime Commissioner Lisa Townsend accused the LGBT+ rights charity Stonewall of pushing a “dangerous ideology” that “threatens the safety of our women and girls” because it supports trans rights.

Townsend also demanded that Surrey police leave the Stonewall diversity champions programme, insisting that the charity “risks putting feminism back 50 years”.

At the time, Townsend again clashed with MP Crispin Blunt, who the day before her Stonewall comments hit out at the British media for driving a “moral panic” over trans kid.

In an article for Conservative Home, Blunt he said some factions of the UK’s national media are “misreporting” facts about trans children to stoke controversy, “just as was done in the run up to Section 28 being enacted”.