India Willoughby slams Waterstones for promoting ‘gender-critical’ book featuring JK Rowling essay

Side by side images of Harry Potter author JK Rowling and trans journalist India Willoughby

India Willoughby has blasted Waterstones for promoting a book comprised of ‘gender-critical’ essays, including one by author JK Rowling, one day after celebrating Pride month.

Like many large companies, book-seller Waterstones published a post on social media celebrating Pride and the LGBTQ+ community, on Saturday (1 June).

“From trailblazing memoirs, novels from key queer authors and the latest TikTok romantic comedies to definitive works on activism and allyship and introductions on inclusivity and LGBTQ+ issues, find our favourite books to celebrate Pride,” the British bookstore wrote on its website, with a link to a collection of queer-themed works.

The collection includes titles such as Elliot Page’s Pageboy, Transitional, by Munroe Bergdorf and Who’s Afraid of Gender? by Judith Butler.

However, just a day later, Waterstones included a ‘gender-critical’ book in its round-up of best new releases.

Waterstones sign
Sign for the book shop brand Waterstones in Birmingham, United Kingdom. (Mike Kemp/In PIctures via Getty Images)

The book of 30 essays, entitled The Women Who Wouldn’t Wheesht, was published on Thursday (30 May) and contains writings by JK Rowling, ‘gender-critical’ MP Joanna Cherry, and a former prison guard opposing trans women being held in women’s prisons

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India Willoughby, who has previously clashed with Rowling on social media over the author’s trans views, shared the post, calling it “dreadful” and “really disappointing”, adding that Waterstones is “famously trans-supportive” and that its staff are “great allies”.

Willoughby argued that that promoting the book was “terrible” and that it “doesn’t belong in a family bookstore.”

Other social media users were quick to call out the bookseller, labelling the posts “hollow virtue signalling”, “lip service” and “hypocrisy up the wazoo”.

A spokesperson for Waterstones told PinkNews: “This post is one of our regular weekly round-ups of new books. Waterstones caters to a wide variety of readers, and these round-ups are not themed selections but aim to give a broad overview reflective of new publishing across genres and subjects that week.”

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