Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling joined a group of over one hundred writers and academics calling for an end to cancel culture and the “intolerant climate that has set in on all sides”, which drew backlash from both sides of the political divide.
J.K. Rowling, alongside liberal New York Times writer Bari Weiss and left-wing linguist Noam Chomsky, signed the letter with dozens of academics which has drawn fierce backlash from the woke Twitterati.
The open letter, ‘A Letter on Justice and Open Debate’, which was published in Harpers Magazine on Tuesday, said that the signatories uphold the need for “the free exchange of information and ideas,” which they described as “the lifeblood of a liberal society,” before warning that it is increasingly becoming “more constricted”.
“While we have come to expect this on the radical right, censoriousness is also spreading more widely in our culture: an intolerance of opposing views, a vogue for public shaming and ostracism, and the tendency to dissolve complex policy issues in a blinding moral certainty,” the letter said.
J.K. Rowling — who has recently become a target of the online mob over her views on transgenderism and how in her view it conflicts with feminism — said that she was “very proud to sign this letter in defence of a foundational principle of a liberal society: open debate and freedom of thought and speech.”
Leftists on social media were quick to denounce the letter, with many claiming it is a decadent display of elitism.
Freelance journalist and ‘fact-checker’, Erin Biba said in response to the letter: “Imagine having access to an outlet like this and the audience they all have – the enormity of that collective platform – and they use it to…….whine that the internet holds them accountable for their own words.”
DC Sentinel reporter, Sam Sacks, chimed in, saying: “Look at who signed this letter, you can tell this is more about wealthy elites in the industry not wanting to face consequences for their past (and current) work as war criminal propagandists, plagiarists, transphobes, and associates of Epstein.”
Not only does this letter fail to provide any evidence for its dire warnings implying the left is intolerant, but it echoes Trump’s Mt Rushmore speech, which warned that “cancel culture” is one of the biggest threats to the country. A shame to see some good people sign this crap. https://t.co/AiGPSQ4DyB
— Nathan J Robinson (@NathanJRobinson) July 7, 2020
The letter attempted to claim some left-wing credentials by attacking what they called “the forces of illiberalism,” and President Donald Trump, who they claim “represents a real threat to democracy.”
“But resistance must not be allowed to harden into its own brand of dogma or coercion—which right-wing demagogues are already exploiting. The democratic inclusion we want can be achieved only if we speak out against the intolerant climate that has set in on all sides,” the letter said.
The open letter was also chided by some on the right, who pointed out the failures of the liberal signatories to stand up for conservative victims of cancel culture.
In June, J.K Rowling faced backlash after writing that only women can menstruate, adding that: “If sex isn’t real, there’s no same-sex attraction. If sex isn’t real, the lived reality of women globally is erased.”
Rich Hollywood Elites Eddie Redmayne and Daniel Radcliffe are mansplaining what it means to be a woman to J.K. Rowling, who actually is a woman. https://t.co/3RvCtPBpai
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) June 10, 2020
Follow Kurt on Twitter at @KurtZindulka