JK Rowling hate crime law posts not criminal, police say

Harry Potter author JK Rowling wears a blue dress and blue jewellery as she stares towards the camera

JK Rowling didn’t break the law by sharing social media posts that criticised Scotland’s new hate crime law and misgendered several trans women, police have said.

In a lengthy series of posts on X/Twitter, the Harry Potter author misgendered several trans women – including trans activists, public figures and convicted sexual offenders – as she described them as “men”. 

She claimed Scotland’s new legislation, which came into effect on Monday (1 April), ​​“placed higher value on the feelings of men performing their idea of femaleness” than on women’s rights.

Rowling, who lives in Scotland, added that she looked “forward to being arrested” if her posts were deemed to break the new law. 

On Tuesday (2 April), Police Scotland confirmed the force had received complaints about JK Rowling’s social media posts, the Guardian reported. However, it added: “The comments are not assessed to be criminal and no further action will be taken.”

Scotland new hate crime legislation, which was passed in 2021, expanded on existing laws. It also included an offence for “stirring up hatred” against certain protected characteristics, including trans identities. 

You may like to watch

Rowling doubled down on her criticisms of the law and celebrated the announcement by police that her posts were not deemed to be criminal.

“I hope every woman in Scotland who wishes to speak up for the reality and importance of biological sex will be reassured by this announcement, and I trust that all women – irrespective of profile or financial means – will be treated equally under the law,” she wrote.

Harry Potter author JK Rowling stares somewhere off camera while wearing a gold dress and matching jewellery
JK Rowling faced immense backlash for her remarks criticising Scotland’s new hate crime law and for misgendering several trans women, including prominent figures in the community. (Getty)

Katie Neeves, who was appointed a UN Women UK delegate and runs Cool2BTrans, was among the trans women mentioned by Rowling in the Harry Potter author’s posts online. 

She told BBC News she was “very disappointed” that Police Scotland wouldn’t be taking action over the comments by Rowling, who she described as a “bully”. 

“JK Rowling is a bully and this act was designed to stop bullying, and if they’re not going to enforce it then that’s very disappointing,” Neeves said. 

She continued: “She listed me and some other trans people along with some sex offenders and put it out to 14 million of her followers.”

She added: “It resulted in me receiving thousands of messages of hate.”

Neeves highlighted how Rowling’s anti-trans remarks had been covered worldwide and there was a lot of “misinformation” about her as a result. 

“It’s horrible and it’s really harmful,” she said. 

India Willoughby, who was also mentioned in JK Rowling’s criticism of Scotland’s hate crime law and was previously misgendered by the author online, also rebuked Police Scotland’s decision not to investigate Rowling’s remarks.

“I’d love to know how putting innocent trans people – who are deliberately misgendered despite having a protected characteristic – on a list containing sex offenders doesn’t meet the [Police Scotland] criteria of: ‘stirring up hatred relating to protected characteristics’,” Willoughby wrote