J.K. Rowling has recently been the subject of controversy after she published a number of Tweets, as well as an essay, that have been criticised for promoting transphobia. To make matters worse, the Tweets were published during Pride month, as well as in the run up to the publication of Rowling’s new book, The Ickabog. A new development in the controversy has occurred, with reports coming forward that a number of employees at Hachette, the publisher of The Ickabog, are refusing to work on Rowling’s upcoming book, in protest of her comments.
The Daily Mail has reported that a number of sources have told the paper that “Staff in the children’s department at Hachette announced they were no longer prepared to work on the book.” The source apparently continued, saying: “They said they were opposed to her comments and wanted to show support for the trans lobby. These staff are all very “woke”, mainly in their twenties and early thirties, and apparently it is an issue they feel very strongly about.”
Another source claims: “It was a handful of staff, and they are entitled to their views. If they were being asked to edit a book on domestic abuse, and they were a survivor of domestic abuse, of course they would never be forced to work on it. But this is a children’s fairy tale. It is not the end of the world. They will all be having chats with their managers.”
While these claims remain unconfirmed, Hachette has issued a statement regarding the claims, saying: “We are proud to publish JK Rowling’s children’s fairy tale The Ickabog. Freedom of speech is the cornerstone of publishing. We fundamentally believe that everyone has the right to express their own thoughts and beliefs. That’s why we never comment on our authors’ personal views and we respect our employees’ right to hold a different view.
“We will never make our employees work on a book whose content they find upsetting for personal reasons, but we draw a distinction between that and refusing to work on a book because they disagree with an author’s views outside their writing, which runs contrary to our belief in free speech.”
A number of high profile individuals connected to Rowling have since voiced their support for the trans community, including Harry Potter stars Daniel Radcliff, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint.