In the latest episode of the podcast The Witch Trials of J.K. Rowling, which was released today, the Harry Potter author spoke about the reactions to her 2019 tweet, in which she expressed support for Maya Forstater, a British researcher fired for comments interpreted as anti-trans, and for which she drew condemnation from GLAAD.
At the time, the Harry Potter author took to Twitter to speak out in support of Forstater, saying, “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? #IStandWithMaya #ThisIsNotADrill”
“I knew it was going to cause a massive storm,” Rowling said in today’s podcast, saying that what came at her was “absolute fury.” The author related replies to her tweet in which some commenters called her a TERF — an acronym that stands for “trans exclusionary radical feminist” — another who wrote: “pretty sure that you and Maya share the same beliefs as Hitler and the Nazis…they gassed trans people” and yet another who wrote, “such a shame that you’ve become the evil that you taught us to stand up to. You’re on the wrong side of history with this one.”
But, the author said, “A ton of Potter fans were still with me. And, in fact, a ton of Potter fans were grateful for what I said.” Rowling said she received thousands of emails of support to her private email address. Still, she says in Tuesday’s podcast that the backlash did impact her.
“Personally, it has not been fun and I have been scared at times for my own safety and, overwhelmingly, for my family’s safety. Time will tell whether I’ve got this wrong. I can only say that I’ve thought about it deeply and hard and long and I’ve listened, I promise, to the other side.”
But Rowling also said she has no regrets. “I stand by every word that I wrote there, but the question is, What is the truth? And I’m arguing against people who are literally saying sex is a construct.”
The first two episodes of The Witch Trials of J.K. Rowling debuted February 21, with the remaining five rolling out every week thereafter. In one of those debut pieces, the Harry Potter author said she does not concern herself with thoughts of legacy or how she’ll be remembered.
“I do not walk around my house thinking about my legacy,” she stated. “You know, what a pompous way to live your life walking around thinking, ‘What will my legacy be?’ Whatever, I’ll be dead. I care about now. I care about the living.”
The podcast is produced by the Free Press media company founded by Bari Weiss and hosted by Megan Phelps-Roper, an ex-member of the infamously homophobic Westboro Baptist Church. Phelps-Roper, who has denounced the teachings of the church, explains in the first episode that she was drawn to the subject of Rowling after realizing that the author who was once condemned as Satanic by the extremist right-wing Westboro, was now being denounced by the Left.