JK Rowling hits out at ‘ludicrous’ SNP hate crime law amid trans row

JK Rowling arrives at the "Fantastic Beasts: The Secret of Dumbledore" World Premiere at The Royal Festival Hall on March 29, 2022 in London, England.

JK Rowling has hit out at a “ludicrous” new Scottish National Party hate crime law, amid a row over trans rights. 

The Harry Potter author, who has courted controversy for her views on transgender issues and has previously even said she’d “happily do two years” in jail instead of using a trans person’s pronouns, took to social media to label the new law “ludicrous” after she was warned to delete posts relating to journalist India Willoughby.

On Sunday (17 March), lawyer Rajan Barot warned Rowling on X/Twitter that she would be “best-advised” to “start deleting” posts, with the Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Act coming into force on 1 April, and “any posts up after that are amenable to prosecution in Scotland”.

Rowling has lived in the devolved nation since 1993.  

Hitting back, she wrote: “If you genuinely imagine I’d delete posts calling a man a man, so as not to be prosecuted under this ludicrous law, stand by for the mother of all April Fools’ jokes.”

The exchange began earlier this month when Rowling misgendered trans broadcaster Willoughby and accused her of “cosplaying a misogynistic male fantasy of what a woman is”. 

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Willoughby, in turn, called the post “grotesque”, saying she was “genuinely disgusted” by it. 

“I am every bit as much a woman as JK Rowling, “recognised in law, and by everyone I interact with every day, Willoughby went on to say. “The debate about whether JK Rowling is a transphobe is over.”

The new SNP law “modernises, consolidates and extends” existing hate crime law in Scotland.

While maintaining the existing protections against crimes aggravated by prejudice towards race, religion, disability, transgender identity and sexual orientation, it also introduces new protections against offences aggravated by prejudice towards a person’s age. 

In addition, it updates the definition of transgender identity by removing the word “intersexuality”, to create a separate characteristic of “variations in sex characteristics”.