J.K. Rowling falsely declared dead by Twitter amid backlash to book

J.K. Rowling’s latest book is about a murderous, cisgender man who dresses as a woman to kill his victims. Following new reviews of the book, Rowling, who has been widely criticized in recent months for transphobic comments, was at the center of a Twitter hashtag and memes condemning the writer.

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The book, Troubled Blood, is the fifth installment in Rowling’s Cormoran Strike series, written under her pen name Robert Galbraith.

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According to the Telegraph’s book review released on Sunday, the 900-page novel is essentially an investigation into a cold case: the disappearance of a woman in 1974 believed to be a victim of a cis male serial killer whose practice is dressing as a woman. The moral seems to be “never trust a man in a dress.” 

Other books in the series have previously been blasted for depicting trans characters as unstable and aggressive. 

On Twitter on Monday, users voiced critical opinions of the new book (and Rowling herself).

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The reaction online was so intense that Twitter issued a correction in response to the hashtag #RIPJKRowling. The site wrote “No, JK Rowling isn’t dead” on its trending topics board.

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Simultaneously, a meme sprang up that captured fans’ disappoint in Rowling for perpetuating transphobic rhetoric. The meme jokingly announced that other celebrities—from Emma Watson to Lady Gaga—”wrote the entire Harry Potter series.”

Actress Cynthia Nixon also criticized the author in an interview with the Independent, saying the book had harmful effects on her 23-year-old son Samuel, who is trans and a long time Harry Potter fan.

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“The books seem to be about championing people who are different, so for her to select this one group of people who are obviously different and sort of deny their existence, it’s just … it’s really baffling,” Nixon told the Independent. “I know she feels like she’s standing up for feminism, but I don’t get it.”

Numerous Harry Potter fans shared Nixon’s sentiment, and many referenced the series in their tweets. 

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But this isn’t Rowling’s first time in the hot seat. 

In June, she received harsh criticism of her opinion on a Devex op-ed about health care inequality that used the phrase “people who menstruate.”

Rowling tweeted about the article: “‘People who menstruate.’ I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?”

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After a fast and furious backlash, Rowling defended her comment by also tweeting, “If sex isn’t real, there’s no same-sex attraction. If sex isn’t real, the lived reality of women globally is erased.” 

For many, Troubled Blood only reaffirms Rowling’s already apparent transphobic beliefs.

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*First Published: Sep 14, 2020, 4:38 pm

Cecilia Lenzen

Cecilia Lenzen is an editorial intern for the Daily Dot. She is a journalism student at the University of Texas at Arlington and the life and entertainment editor at student newspaper The Shorthorn.