The Harry Potter franchise has set author J.K. Rowling in a position of great influence over her millions of readers, and she's wielded that power a handful of times when it comes to certain political stances. But while many of these instances won her praise, her stance on transgender issues has had many of her former fans labeling her as transphobic.
And J.K.'s new book, which was just released, has only thrown her further into controversy.
J.K. Rowling's new book has already garnered some controversy.
Since wrapping up the Harry Potter series in 2007, J.K. has shifted her writing from fantasy to mystery, writing under the pen name Robert Galbraith. Her newest book, The Ink Black Heart, has already become one of the most controversial stories she's ever written. That's almost an accomplishment considering how far she's already fallen.
A bit of a warning for the upcoming plot synopsis if reading about transphobia isn't in the cards for you today. Or ever.
Ink Black Heart is about an online creator who is called out for including transphobic messaging in her popular YouTube series.
The book's official summary describes the story's main character being "persecuted" by anonymous online trolls, and it's up to a duo of detectives to get to the bottom of things. As if being held accountable is the crime here.
The main character's web cartoon has a huge following before its fandom begins to realize it's not just transphobic, but also racist and ableist. Though it appears J.K. based the book's events on her own experiences online, she claimed it was all coincidence.
The author claimed she "had written the book before certain things happened to me online."
J.K. Rowling was previously criticized for transphobic comments.
J.K.'s critics immediately pointed out that her plotline contributes to the negative stereotypes about the transgender community and draws parallels to her previous transphobic comments.
In December 2019, J.K. posted a tweet making it clear she stood in support of Maya Forstater, a British woman who was fired from her job for tweeting that she didn't believe in changing your sex assigned at birth.
"Dress however you please. Call yourself whatever you like. Sleep with any consenting adult who’ll have you. Live your best life in peace and security. But force women out of their jobs for stating that sex is real?" she tweeted, ending the declaration of support with the hashtag #IStandWithMaya.
From there, J.K. was habitually criticized every time she spoke about her beliefs regarding the transgender community, culminating in her writing a letter to explain her defense.
“When you throw open the doors of bathrooms and changing rooms to any man who believes or feels he’s a woman – and, as I’ve said, gender confirmation certificates may now be granted without any need for surgery or hormones – then you open the door to any and all men who wish to come inside. That is the simple truth,” she wrote in the letter, citing her personal sexual and domestic violence experiences as part of her reasoning.
In the letter, J.K. had also mentioned she was working on a book “set in the present day, and my fictional female detective is of an age to be interested in, and affected by, these issues herself, but on another, it’s intensely personal."