Police Say They Won't Arrest JK Rowling

Comments on trans women 'are not assessed to be criminal and no further action will be taken'
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 1, 2024 11:35 AM CDT
Updated Apr 2, 2024 4:38 PM CDT
JK Rowling to Scotland: Go On, Arrest Me
Author JK Rowling appears at the world premiere of the film "Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald" in Paris on Nov. 8, 2018.   (AP Photo/Christophe Ena, File)
UPDATE Apr 2, 2024 4:38 PM CDT

Police in Scotland said Tuesday that they have received complaints about a tweet from JK Rowling but her "comments are not assessed to be criminal and no further action will be taken." In the post, the author described several transgender women as men and dared police to arrest her under a new Scottish law that makes "stirring up hatred" related to transgender identity, among other characteristics, a criminal offense. Robbie de Santos, director of human rights at the Stonewall charity, said it was "simply incorrect" for commentators to say misgendering or "stating facts on biology," as Rowling puts it, would be criminalized, the Guardian reports. "This kind of misrepresentation about the act and its purpose only serves to trivialize the very real violence committed against us in the name of hate," de Santos said.

Apr 1, 2024 11:35 AM CDT

JK Rowling has a pretty deep history of making comments taken as inflammatory in the transgender community, and the Harry Potter author isn't backing down. As the BBC reports, Rowling's latest throwdown is with the government of Scotland, the country in which she resides, and which recently passed a law making it a criminal offense to "[stir] up hatred" against people related to their age, disability, religion, sexual orientation, transgender identity, or intersex status. Among the classes not protected under the new law, per the AP: women, meaning attacks based on gender wouldn't be illegal. And Rowling is inviting Scottish authorities to arrest her if her opinions flout the law. A look:

  • Rowling: "Scottish lawmakers seem to have placed higher value on the feelings of men performing their idea of femaleness, however misogynistically or opportunistically, than on the rights and freedoms of actual women and girls," she posted on X. "It is impossible to accurately describe or tackle the reality of violence and sexual violence committed against women and girls, or address the current assault on women's and girls' rights, unless we are allowed to call a man a man. Freedom of speech and belief are at an end in Scotland if the accurate description of biological sex is deemed criminal."
  • Rowling, part II: She went on quite the rant, calling out several trans women specifically, on X.
  • Rowling, part III: "I'm currently out of the country, but if what I've written here qualifies as an offense under the terms of the new act, I look forward to being arrested when I return to the birthplace of the Scottish Enlightenment."
  • Scottish First Minister Humza Yousaf: "Unless your behavior is threatening or abusive and intends to stir up hatred, then you have nothing to worry about in terms of the new offenses being created," he said, per the BBC.
(More JK Rowling stories.)

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