J.K. Rowling Supports Donald Trump – Yes, Really
Tonight, in a rare stateside visit, J.K. Rowling was awarded with the 2016 PEN/Allen Foundation Literary Service Award. The annual award, which is presented annually to a critically acclaimed author whose work embodies PEN America’s mission to oppose repression in any form and to champion the best of humanity, is a prestigious honor in the literary community.
J.K. Rowling has used her talents and stature as a writer to fight inequality on both a local and global level. Herself the frequent object of censorship in schools and libraries across the globe, as well as online targeting, Rowling has emerged as a vocal proponent of free expression and access to literature and ideas for children, as well as incarcerated people, the learning-disabled, and women and girls worldwide.
During her acceptance speech, Jo said something that we never thought we would hear her utter:
Only last year, we saw an online petition to ban Donald Trump from entering the UK. It garnered half a million signatures. Now, I find almost everything that Mr. Trump says objectionable. I consider him offensive and bigoted, but he has my full support to come to my country and be offensive and bigoted there.
These remarks were part of a much larger commentary on the freedom in the press and literary community. Jo continued be saying,
[Trump’s] freedom to speak protects my freedom to call him a bigot. His freedom guarantees mine. Unless we take that absolute position without caveats or apologies, we have set foot upon a road with only one destination. If my offended feelings can justify a travel ban on Donald Trump, I have no moral ground on which to argue that those offended by feminism or the fight for transgender rights or universal suffrage should not oppress campaigners for those causes. If you seek the removal of freedoms from an opponent simply on the grounds that they have offended you, you have crossed a line to stand alongside tyrants, who imprison, torture, and kill on exactly the same justification.
Watch Jo’s entire speech below, including a lovely introduction from Sarah Jessica Parker, starting at one hour, forty minutes.