J.K. Rowling returns Kennedy Family Award following Kerry Kennedy remarks

“Harry Potter” author J.K. Rowling has emerged into a fresh controversy after she returned the Ripple of Hope Award bestowed upon her by the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights organization in December 2019, following criticism from Kerry Kennedy. Kerry is the daughter of Robert F. Kennedy, and the president of the organization.

“Over the course of June 2020 — LGBTQ Pride Month — and much to my dismay, J.K. Rowling posted deeply troubling transphobic tweets and statements,” Kennedy posted on the organization’s website on Aug. 3. “On June 6, she tweeted an article headlined “Opinion: Creating a more equal post-COVID-19 world for people who menstruate.” She wrote glibly and dismissively about transgender identity: ‘People who menstruate.’ I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?”

11 PHOTOSHarry Potter – J.K. RowlingSee GalleryHarry Potter – J.K. RowlingWASHINGTON – APRIL 05:British author J.K. Rowling, creator of the Harry Potter fantasy series, points to the place on her forehead where her title character has a scar while reading ‘Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone’ during the Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn of the White House April 5, 2010 in Washington, DC.About 30,000 people are expected to attend attended the 132-year-old tradition of rolling colored eggs down the South Lawn of the White House.(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)HARRY POTTER AND THE PHILOSOPHER’S STONE 2001 Warner Bros film with Emma Watson, Daniel Radcliffe and Rupert GrintJ K Rowling attends the World Premiere of “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” at Leicester Square, London, 7th July 2009.J K Rowling attends the World Premiere of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1, London, 11th November 2010.Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint attends the World Premiere of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1, LondonHarry Potter and the half blood prince london premier(from L) British actors Rupert Grint, Emma Watson and Daniel Radcliffe arrive at the world premiere of ‘Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince’ in Leicester Square in central London on July 7 2009. The film is the adaptation of the final book in the long-running series about the magical life of the young schoolboy. AFP PHOTO/Leon Neal (Photo credit should read Leon Neal/AFP/Getty Images)LONDON – SEPTEMBER 04: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK TABLOID NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 48 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME) Actress Emma Watson attends the after party following the UK premiere of ”Driving Lessons,” at Hedges and Butler on September 4, 2006 in London, England. (Photo by Dave M. Benett/Getty Images)Emma Watson, Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint (Photo by DMIPhoto/FilmMagic)Actor Daniel Radcliffe at the N.Y. Premiere of ‘Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone’ at the Ziegfeld Theatre in New York City. 11/11/2001. Photo: Evan Agostini/ImageDirectActor Rupert Grint at the N.Y. Premiere of ‘Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone’ at the Ziegfeld Theatre in New York City. 11/11/2001. Photo: Evan Agostini/ImageDirectUp Next

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Kennedy said she had spoken with Rowling “to express my profound disappointment that she has chosen to use her remarkable gifts to create a narrative that diminishes the identity of trans and nonbinary people, undermining the validity and integrity of the entire transgender community — one that disproportionately suffers from violence, discrimination, harassment, and exclusion and, as a result, experiences high rates of suicide, suicide attempts, homelessness, and mental and bodily harm. Black trans women and trans youth in particular are targeted.”

On Thursday, Rowling responded with a statement posted to her website.

“Because of the very serious conflict of views between myself and RFKHR, I feel I have no option but to return the Ripple of Hope Award bestowed upon me last year,” said the author. “I am deeply saddened that RFKHR has felt compelled to adopt this stance, but no award or honor, no matter my admiration for the person for whom it was named, means so much to me that I would forfeit the right to follow the dictates of my own conscience.”

Rowling said Kennedy’s statement “incorrectly implied that I was transphobic, and that I am responsible for harm to trans people.”

“Harry Potter” and “Fantastic Beasts” stars who had earlier distanced themselves from Rowling’s comments on the transgender community include Eddie Redmayne, Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson.

In July, Variety reported that Rowling’s book sales were lagging despite a wider boom in the publishing world.

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