NY Times publishes op-ed defending JK Rowling’s trans views – in face of revolt from hundreds of its OWN staff and Hollywood A-listers who signed two open letters slamming paper for ‘bias’ against trans people
- Times published an op-ed saying abuse of Rowling for her trans views is ‘absurd’
- Piece by Pamela Paul asserts ‘nothing Rowling has said qualifies as transphobic’
- It comes a day after two open letters signed by hundreds of Times staff and celebs accused the paper of anti-trans bias
The New York Times has published an op-ed in support of J.K. Rowling’s views on transgender issues a day after two open letters signed by hundreds of its own staff and celebrities accused the paper of anti-trans ‘bias’.
A piece from Pamela Paul, an opinion columnist, called the abuse faced by Rowling ‘absurd’ and asserted that ‘nothing Rowling has said qualifies as transphobic’.
In the piece published on Thursday morning, Paul writes: ‘If more people stood up for J.K. Rowling, they would not only be doing right by her; they’d also be standing up for human rights, specifically women’s rights, gay rights and, yes, transgender rights. They’d also be standing up for the truth.’
The piece published on Thursday came 24 hours after two open letters were sent to the Times criticizing its coverage of trans issues.
The Times issued a response defending its journalism, and its subsequent decision to publish the pro-Rowling piece indicates the paper has not been deterred from sharing a range of views in the debate.
The New York Times published an op-ed in defense of J.K. Rowling’s trans views a day after two open letters, signed by celebrities, campaign groups and hundreds of the paper’s own writers, accused the paper of bias in its reporting of trans issues
An op-ed by Pamela Paul (pictured right) in support of J.K. Rowling was published by the New York Times a day after two open letters criticized the paper’s coverage of trans issues. Pictured left, a billboard van parked outside the Times’ office by GLAAD, which sent one of the letters
Paul refers to the new ‘The Witch Trials of J.K. Rowling’ podcast by Megan Phelps-Roper – a former member of the notorious Westboro Baptist Church – based on nine hours of interviews with Rowling which explore her views and the backlash faced by the author.
The op-ed states: ‘As Rowling herself notes on the podcast, she’s written books where “from the very first page, bullying and authoritarian behavior is held to be one of the worst of human ills”.
‘Those who accuse Rowling of punching down against her critics ignore the fact that she is sticking up for those who have silenced themselves to avoid the job loss, public vilification and threats to physical safety that other critics of recent gender orthodoxies have suffered.’
A day earlier, a letter signed by 170 staff and contributors to Philip B. Corbett, associate managing editor for standards at the Times, accused the paper of ‘editorial bias in [its] reporting on transgender, non-binary, and gender nonconforming people’.
The signatories claim ‘the Times has in recent years treated gender diversity with an eerily familiar mix of pseudoscience and euphemistic, charged language, while publishing reporting on trans children that omits relevant information about its sources’.
British actress Jameela Jamil was among the co-signatories of a a letter published by GLAAD, an LGBTQ media advocacy organization, which accused the Times of ‘irresponsible, biased coverage of transgender people’. A second letter was also sent on Thursday by Times staff and contributors, expressing similar views
Actress Gabrielle Union also co-signed the letter sent by GLAAD, which accused the Times of ‘biased coverage’ of transgender people
The New York Times was accused by 170 of its own writers and contributors of a ‘bias’ approach to reporting on the debate around trans rights
The litany of complaints include using sources linked to ‘anti-trans hate groups’ and the paper’s historical approaches to reporting LGBTQ issues.
A second letter published on Wednesday by GLAAD, an LGBTQ media advocacy organization, which is signed by celebrities and activists, further accused the Times of ‘irresponsible, biased coverage of transgender people’.
Paul’s op-ed refers to a new podcast by Megan Phelps-Roper (pictured) – a former member of the notorious Westboro Baptist Church – in which Rowling discusses her views and the backlash faced by the author
The letter states: ‘It is appalling that the Times would dedicate so many resources and pages to platforming the voices of extremist anti-LGBTQ activists who have built their careers on denigrating and dehumanizing LGBTQ people, especially transgender people.’
Charlie Stadtlander, a spokesman for the Times, said its stories on the subject, including several cited in the open letters, were reported ‘deeply and empathetically’, adding: ‘Our journalism strives to explore, interrogate and reflect the experiences, ideas and debates in society – to help readers understand them. Our reporting did exactly that and we’re proud of it.’
GLAAD has repeatedly criticized J.K. Rowling’s contributions to the debate around trans rights, including the Harry Potter author’s support for single-sex spaces for biological women.
The organization’s ‘accountability project’ has a page dedicated to what it describes as Rowling’s ‘anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and discriminatory actions’.
Signatories of the GLAAD letter include a string of campaign groups, along with celebrities including Jameela Jamil, Gabrielle Union, Judd Apatow and Tommy Dorfman.
The other letter was signed by Times writers and contributors including whistleblower Chelsea Manning, who is trans, culture reporter David Itzkoff and actress Cynthia Nixon.
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