Sunday, January 16

Fans want her dead – but experts believe her career can still be saved

Joanne Rowling (56), better known by the pseudonym JK Rowling, has been so-called “canceled”. It all started with what is interpreted as transphobic comments in 2020, but the latest scandals are no more than days old.

In this article, Good Evening Norway explains why the author went from having hero status to becoming a person people do not want to be associated with. That is why she was “canceled”.

WITCH HUNT: Reputation expert Trond Blindheim works at Kristiania University College. He describes the media storm surrounding Rowling as a witch hunt. Photo: Press photo

Rest in peace?

There is still no good Norwegian expression for explaining “cancel culture”, but this means that a large group of people decide to withdraw from a public person after the person in question has made comments, actions or opinions that are perceived as offensive. A kind of boycott, if you will.

Reputation expert Trond Blindheim (66) says that the phenomenon is not new, even though the extent may be.

– Society has constantly punished people for behaving outside social norms. But in the last decades of social media, the trend has gained momentum under the name “canceled culture” in that famous people, researchers, politicians, companies and brands are put under a magnifying glass of political correctness. Simply put, it is a strategy to exclude people from the public debate. Demands for expulsion and stage refusal are often conveyed via social media, he says to Good evening Norway.

On social media, fans have gone so far as to “cancel” Rowling, that they created the hashtag #RIPJKRowling on Twitter last year. The topic is growing ever larger on Twitter, and it has spread to other social media, such as Instagram. This even though Twitter has been criticized for letting it spread, since it contributes to false rumors about her death, as well as death threats.

In the Twitter message below, you can see that a “Harry Potter” fan has collected dozens of death threats, where some ask Rowling to “suck me and suffocate my cock”, and others say they will personally kill her.

Reputation destroyed in a few days

It all started in June 2020, when Rowling made comments against transgender people.

It is the following Twitter messages that seriously ruined the author’s reputation, especially among young people:

Fans have interpreted the Twitter messages to mean that Rowling believes that one must have been born with a vagina in order to call oneself a woman, and that she thus violates people who identify as women, but are born with a different biological sex.

Blindheim explains the scandal as follows:

– Rowling’s unforgivable crime is that she has dared to say that being a woman is linked to being born with a woman’s body, and that menstruation is something that only women have. Rowling has also supported a woman who was fired for having similar views, he says, referring to the furor that arose when Rowling gave public support to a woman named Maja Forstater.

States were fired after employer found Twitter messages criticizing British authorities for letting the population decide their legal gender, according to CNN.

The “Harry Potter” cast has shown its support for transgender people who have been hurt by the comments, and Daniel Radcliffe, who had the title role, said the following last summer:

– Trans women are women. Any statement to the contrary removes the identity and dignity of transgender people, and is contrary to all advice given by professional health care associations that have far more expertise on this subject than me and Jo.

When HBO launched its Harry Potter reunion on January 1, Rowling was not invited, even though she has written the books. Her attitudes towards transgender people must have been the reason.

The scandal haunts her

The latest in a series of Rowling scandals is that a school in Essex no longer wants to be associated with the author. Ungdomsskolen Boswells School named a building after her, but changed its name in January because “comments and views about transgender people do not agree with the school’s”.

It was The Daily Mail that first mentioned the school’s decision, with a headline that read: «J.K. Rowling is canceled again».

ROYAL: Rowling was previously a highly respected author.  Here in meeting with the Queen of England.  Photo: Reuters / Chris Young / PA / WPA Pool

ROYAL: Rowling was previously a highly respected author. Here in meeting with the Queen of England. Photo: Reuters / Chris Young / PA / WPA Pool

Reputation expert Blindheim explains that not everyone agrees with Rowling’s critics.

– It is not true that everyone is angry at Rowling because of her so-called transphobia. Thousands of women have supported Rowling because she expresses what they themselves feel and think. I think it’s a lie to think that Rowling is an evil woman because she does not recognize that women can have penises and men can menstruate.

– The most grotesque thing about the witch trial against one of today’s most popular female writers, is the claim that she is a transphobic. She has never expressed hatred about transgender people or transgender people, but on the contrary has given her full support for transgender people to be able to seek happiness in the way that suits them best. She understands gender as most women and men understand gender. I think Rowling has been subjected to intolerance and persecution.

Accusations of Judaism

It is true that it is not only trans people that Rowling has aroused. Just days before the news of the British school, she was in trouble when Jon Stewart’s podcast “The Problem with Jon Stewart” by far called Rowling anti-Semitic.

The comedian believes that the so-called “goblins” in the “Harry Potter” universe that runs Gringotts Bank can be compared to the anti-Semitic illustrations in the book “The Protocols of Zion” from 1903.

– Have you ever seen a “Harry Potter” movie? Have you ever seen the scenes in Gringotts Bank? Do you know what the people who run the bank are? Jews! And they’re like, “Oh, from Harry Potter!” And you think, “No, it’s a caricature of a Jew from an anti-Semitic piece of literature.” JK Rowling said, “Can we get these guys to run our bank?” It’s a wizarding world… We can ride kites, you can have a pet owl, but who’s going to run the bank? Jews.

A few days after the media storm that followed the anti-Semitic comments, Stewart had to point out that the comment was actually meant as a joke, according to BBC. By this time, much of the damage had probably already happened, as thousands of newspapers and Rowling haters had spread the news around the world.

FAMOUS FACE: Comedian Jon Stewart has criticized Rowling.  Photo: Yui Mok

FAMOUS FACE: Comedian Jon Stewart has criticized Rowling. Photo: Yui Mok

Violation fear

Reputation expert Blindheim thinks there is a lot of negativity with “cancel culture”. He says it stands in stark contrast to the idea that we can, and should, tolerate each other’s views and opinions.

Threatening one’s opponents to silence is anti-democratic, according to Blindheim.

– Intolerance for ambiguity and different points of view is not good. The fear of offending must not be allowed to seize power.

On a general basis, Blindheim believes it is possible to return after being “canceled”, but that it very much depends on the reason for the boycott.

– It is fortunate that we have some good principles for freedom of expression that ideological narrow-mindedness must give way to.

FAMOUS MEDIA EXPERT: Media consultant and market analyst Arne-Inge Christophersen works daily in the PR company Hausmann.  He has also worked as a manager in several media companies.  Photo: Private

FAMOUS MEDIA EXPERT: Media consultant and market analyst Arne-Inge Christophersen works daily in the PR company Hausmann. He has also worked as a manager in several media companies. Photo: Private

– Difficult to complain afterwards

Media expert and media consultant Arne-Inge Christophersen (59), her books and films will live on, regardless of what happens to Rowling’s reputation.

– She is not always “politically correct” in pace and tone. And, but such a position she will always have “opponents” and people and environments who will both despise who she is and what she has written, at the same time someone will glorify and use her. That’s how it is when you are popular. She has had a number of statements that can definitely be interpreted as controversy. It seems that she really dares, says Christophersen to Good evening Norway.

He thinks it is understandable that she has become part of the “cancel” culture.

With such a position, one must also be extra careful with statements and utterances in social media. If she throws out something, it’s guaranteed to be picked up! It is difficult to complain afterwards, because the damage is there, he says, and continues:

– But I think she will manage, her work is historical and legendary – maybe she rises like a Phoenix?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *