The hashtag “RIP J.K. Rowling” started trending nationally on Twitter on September 14, but the Harry Potter author is not dead. The death hoax concerning Rowling appears to stem from the upcoming release of her new book, Troubled Blood, which will be published under her pseudonym, Robert Galbraith, on September 15.
Rowling, 55, came under fire over the summer for her comments on transgender women, and after The Telegraph posted its review of her latest 900-page novel, the fifth entry in her Cormoran Strikes series, her critics were both surprised and upset to learn the story’s lead character was a transgender serial killer.
Telegraph reviewer Jake Kerridge predicted the reaction. He wrote the mystery novel “has a sub-plot to make Rowling’s critics fume,” and he “wonders what critics of Rowling’s stance on trans issues will make of [the] book.”
She may have been a racist, antisemitic, transphobic bigot who wants fawning credit for gay characters but refuses to actually include them in films or text but at least she…er, looked good in purple? pic.twitter.com/HYsL4itYSG
— Intellectual Duck Web (@pixelkitties) September 14, 2020
Kerridge, who gave the book three out of five stars, described how “the meat of the book is the investigation into a cold case: the disappearance of GP Margot Bamborough in 1974, thought to have been a victim of Dennis Creed, a transvestite serial killer.”
Fans of Rowling haven’t forgotten about the tweet the author sent on June 6, which caused a storm of online backlash. She shared a Devex article titled, “Opinion: Creating a more equal post-COVID-19 world for people who menstruate.” The article detailed issues around menstruation during COVID-19, like how access to sanitary items, privacy, soap and water may be diminished in some parts of the world. The op-ed also called for funding and initiating programs to address the issue.
‘People who menstruate.’ I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?
Opinion: Creating a more equal post-COVID-19 world for people who menstruate https://t.co/cVpZxG7gaA
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) June 6, 2020
Rowling retweeted the article and wrote, “People who menstruate.’ I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?”
Rowling Critics Were Upset She Wrote a Novel About a Transgender Person After Her Disparaging Comments Went Viral
— maxwell (@Maxwell5SOS) September 14, 2020
After reading the basis for Rowling’s Troubled Blood, Twitter users shared their anger on Twitter. One person tweeted for clarity, “#RIPJKRowling shes not dead but she killed her own career by being transphobic.”
Many fans expressed feeling conflicted since they absolutely love the Harry Potter series. One person tweeted, “#RIPJKRowling You gave us #HarryPotter and I’ll love ya for that, but why would you go there? Why would you spread hate to all of us that follow you? AND you didn’t even offer an apology which means you MEANT everything.”
— patback (@memeforhire) September 14, 2020
However, not everyone bashed Rowling. Conservative author and anti-Islam activist Brigitte Gabriel wrote in a now-deleted tweet, “RT if you stand with JK Rowling! #RIPJKRowling.” Another person tweeted, “God, I hate Twitter sometimes. #RIPJKRowling is trending, not because she’s dead, but because people are once again randomly hating on her for one reason or another. Almost had a f****** heart attack when I saw that hashtag…”
Daniel Radcliffe Spoke Out Against Rowling’s Comments on Trans Women
On June 8, Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe spoke out in response to Rowling’s tweets about transgender women.
In an open letter published in The Trevor Project, Radcliffe said he was “compelled to say something” and apologize for any pain Rowling’s comments may have caused fans of the Harry Potter series.
Transgender women are women. Any statement to the contrary erases the identity and dignity of transgender people and goes against all advice given by professional health care associations who have far more expertise on this subject matter than either Jo or I. According to The Trevor Project, 78% of transgender and nonbinary youth reported being the subject of discrimination due to their gender identity. It’s clear that we need to do more to support transgender and nonbinary people, not invalidate their identities, and not cause further harm.