Four authors have resigned from JK Rowling‘s literary agency after accusing it of failing to issue a public statement in support of transgender rights and equality.
Fox Fisher, Drew Davies and Ugla Stefanía Kristjönudóttir Jónsdóttir issued a joint statement to announce their resignation from The Blair Partnership.
A fourth author is also understood to have quit but wished to remain anonymous.
Rowling was criticised for comments she made on social media and wrote an essay, published on her personal website, expressing ‘deep concerns’ about transgender activism.
In the same essay she described being a victim of domestic violence and sexual assault.
The statement made by Fisher, Davies and Jónsdóttir said: ‘This decision is not made lightly, and we are saddened and disappointed it has come to this.
‘After J. K. Rowling’s — who is also signed to the agency — public comments on transgender issues, we reached out to the agency with an invitation to reaffirm their stance to transgender rights and equality.
‘After our talks with them, we felt that they were unable to commit to any action that we thought was appropriate and meaningful.
‘Freedom of speech can only be upheld if the structural inequalities that hinder equal opportunities for underrepresented groups are challenged and changed.’
Jónsdóttir, also known as Owl Fisher and co-author of the Trans Teen Survival Guide, suggested the agency should conduct staff training with the group All About Trans but ‘these requests weren’t met positively by the management’, The Guardian reported.
The statement added: ‘As LGBTQIA writers ourselves we feel strongly about having an agency that supports our rights at all avenues, and does not endorse views that go against our values and principles.’
The three authors are marking their resignation by donating to Shakti Women’s Aid and have also asked others to donate.
Shakti Women’s Aid is a charity that is part of the Scottish Women’s Aid movement and supports BAME women who are experiencing or have experienced domestic abuse.
A spokesperson for The Blair Partnership told The Guardian: ‘We support the rights of all of our clients to express their thoughts and beliefs, and we believe in freedom of speech. Publishing and the creative arts are dependent on these things. It is our duty, as an agency to support all of our clients in this fundamental freedom and we do not comment on their individual views.
‘We are disappointed by the decision that four clients have taken to part ways with the agency. To reiterate, we believe in freedom of speech for all; these clients have decided to leave because we did not meet their demands to be re-educated to their point of view. We respect their right to pursue what they feel is the correct course of action.
‘We value all our authors’ voices and, as an agency, champion equality and inclusivity. We remain committed to making the agency the most welcoming environment it can be for everyone. The diversity of our clients’ voices is our strength and we take enormous pride from each and every one.’
The Harry Potter author was hit with criticism after she took issue with an online article titled ‘Opinion: Creating a more equal post-COVID-19 world for people who menstruate’.
She tweeted to her 14.5m followers: ‘I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?’
Last week publishing staff working on JK Rowling’s new book, The Ickabog, threatened to stop working in protest at her views on gender.
Her tweet also received backlash from some of the cast in the Harry Potter films, including Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson.
Radcliffe tweeted: ‘To all the people who now feel that their experience of the books has been tarnished or diminished, I am deeply sorry for the pain these comments have caused you’.
He wrote: ‘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’.
Radcliffe continued: ‘I realize that certain press outlets will probably want to paint this as in-fighting between JK Rowling and myself, but that is really not what this is about, nor is it what’s important right now.
‘While Jo is unquestionably responsible for the course my life has taken, as someone who has been honored to work with and continues to contribute to The Trevor Project for the last decade, and just as a human being, I feel compelled to say something at this moment.’
Watson said: ‘Trans people are who they say they are and deserve to live their lives without being constantly questioned or told they aren’t who they say they are.’
She added: ‘I want my trans followers to know that I and so many other people around the world see you, respect you and love you for who you are.’
SOURCE: Daily Mail, Georgia Simcox