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J.K. Rowling won't be charged for anti-trans comments amid new Scotland law

By Chris Benson
J. K. Rowling arrives on the red carpet at the 'Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them' World Premiere at Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center in New York City in 2016. File Photo by Dennis Van Tine/UPI
J. K. Rowling arrives on the red carpet at the 'Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them' World Premiere at Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center in New York City in 2016. File Photo by Dennis Van Tine/UPI | License Photo

April 2 (UPI) -- Comments made on social media by "Harry Potter" author J.K. Rowling will not be looked at as criminal amid Scotland's new hate crime law which took effect Monday, authorities have stated.

In a thread on X, Rowling called several transgender women as men in a direct challenge to Scotland's Hate Crime and Public Order Act that makes criminal "stirring up hatred" against people based on religion, race, disability, sexuality or gender identity.

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Authorities have said that since the law took effect Monday, law enforcement so far had received more than 3,000 complaints.

"We have received complaints in relation to the social media post," Police Scotland said in a statement. "The comments are not assessed to be criminal and no further action will be taken."

"In passing the Scottish Hate Crime Act, Scottish lawmakers seem to have placed higher value on the feelings of men performing their idea of femaleness, however misogynistically or opportunistically, than on the rights and freedoms of actual women and girls," the best-selling author said on X.

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"The new legislation is wide open to abuse by activists who wish to silence those of us speaking out about the dangers of eliminating women's and girls' single-sex spaces, the nonsense made of crime data if violent and sexual assaults committed by men are recorded as female crimes, the grotesque unfairness of allowing males to compete in female sports, the injustice of women's jobs, honours and opportunities being taken by trans-identified men, and the reality and immutability of biological sex."

Rowling -- who supposedly was not in Britain when she wrote what she did -- said that if what she said were illegal, she looked forward "to being arrested when I return to the birthplace of the Scottish Enlightenment."

One of the trans people targeted by Rowling in her social media post, India Willoughby, called for police to start making prosecutions in order to protect the trans community.

"If somebody put your name on a list of sex offenders, along with other innocent people, and then published that list to 14 million people, would you be annoyed?" Willoughby asked on X. "Would you maybe go to the police and ask them to do something? Would you be upset? Would you consider it hateful? Because that's what happened yesterday."

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Scotland's First Minister Humza Yousaf recently was the victim of a hate crime when racist graffiti had appeared on his home. "A reminder of why we must, collectively, take a zero-tolerance approach to hatred," he said on X.

On Tuesday, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak had little to say over the controversy other than to characterize the new Scottish law that was challenge by Rowling as a free speech violation.

"We should not be criminalizing people saying common sense things about biological sex," Sunak said, adding how, "Clearly that isn't right."

Rowling has been known to rail against LGBTQ-inclusive ideas. In 2020, "Harry Potter" star Daniel Radcliffe went so far as to apologize to "Potter" fans for previous anti-trans remarks made by Rowling.

"Transgender women are women," Radcliffe wrote nearly four years ago about Rowling's past anti-trans comments.

"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 [Rowling] or I."

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