JK Rowling says she “absolutely knew” that her comments and views on transgender issues would make Harry Potter fans “deeply unhappy”.
The world-renowned author said that despite a huge backlash to a tweet made in 2019, there were “a ton of Potter fans who were thankful for saying what I said.”
Rowling has previously been criticized for her staunch views on gender identity, explaining she was partly motivated to speak out because of her experience with domestic abuse and sexual assault, but she has strongly denied the allegations of transphobia.
Speaking on the latest episode of The Witch Trials Of JK Rowling podcast, she addressed a tweet she had made in 2019, in which she expressed support for tax expert Maya Forstater and the resulting fallout.
Forstater lost her job due to her own tweets made about transgender people, and later took the case to an employment tribunal on the grounds that her firing constituted discrimination against her beliefs.
At the time, Rowling tweeted: “Dress however you like. Call yourself what you like. Sleep with any consenting adult who wants you. Live your best life in peace and security.
“But forcing women out of their jobs for claiming that sex is real? #IStandWithMaya #ThisIsNotADrill.”
Speaking on the podcast, Rowling admitted it would have been “easier” not to intrude on the debate.
“When I first became interested in and then deeply disturbed by what I saw as a cultural movement that was liberal in its methods and was highly questionable in its ideas, I knew absolutely that if I spoke out, many people would be deeply unhappy with me,” she said.
“I knew this because I knew… that they believed they were living the values I espoused in those books. I could tell they believed they were fighting for the underdog, difference and equity.
“And I thought it would be easier not to, you know, that this could be really bad. And honestly, personally it was bad, it wasn’t funny.
“At times I’ve had fears for my safety and overwhelmingly for the safety of my family.”
He added: “Time will tell if I was wrong. I can only say that I have thought about it deeply, intensely and for a long time. And I’ve been listening, I promise, from the other side.
“And I believe, absolutely, that there is something dangerous about this movement, and it needs to be challenged.”
Rowling said she was “thoughtful enough” to inform her management team that she was about to post her initial tweet “because I knew it was going to cause a huge storm”.
Following the online post, the author received thousands of responses from fans expressing their disappointment and disgust towards her.
The stars of the Harry Potter franchise – Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint – have also spoken out publicly in opposition to his views on the genre.
“I am constantly told that I have betrayed my own books, but my position is that I absolutely support the positions I have taken in Potter,” Rowling said.
“My position is that this activist movement, in the form it is currently taking, echoes exactly what I was warning against in Harry Potter.”
He added: “But at the same time, I have to tell you, a ton of Potter fans were still with me.
“In fact, a lot of Potter fans are grateful that I said what I said.”
She added that the unwillingness of many to engage with her on the issue is “intellectually incredibly cowardly.”
“I am fighting what I see as a powerful and insidious misogynistic movement that I think has gained enormous acceptance in very influential areas of society. I don’t see this particular movement as benign or helpless,” she said.
“So I fear I stand with women who are struggling to be heard against the threat of loss of livelihoods and threats to their personal safety.”
Rowling previously said she agreed to take part in the podcast after being approached by author and activist Megan Phelps-Roper.
She said she thought she and Phelps-Roper, a former member of Westboro Baptist Church, might have a “real, interesting, two-sided conversation that could prove constructive.”