British news organisation BBC announced JK Rowling as one of the nominees of the 2020 Russell Prize for best writing for her controversial blog on transgender women.
The media editor at BBC, Amol Rajan discussed JK Rowling’s blog Reasons for Speaking Out on Sex and Gender Issues by describing it as brave prose. While stating that her prose offended many people, as many called it transphobic, he said, “Offence is the price of free speech.”
Although he did say that he does not have any views on the prose’s subject. What he did object was the trolling and backlash that was directed at Rowling because of the blog.
“We should all applaud bravery in writers – even those with whom we disagree. And Rowling’s essay contained moments of both real beauty and piercing honesty, as when she revealed that she is a survivor of domestic abuse and sexual assault,” he wrote.
He also applauded Rowling’s blog for being written in simple English language that can be understood easily. As he quoted one line from UK’s former health secretary Enoch Powell’s speech, he compared Rowling’s writing with it. Enoch Powell was a controversial figure in the United Kingdom as he is remembered for making inflammatory speeches.
The announcement of JK Rowling being nominated in the 2020 Russell Prize threw social media users in a bit of outrage as they criticized BBC for it. One user encouraged other people on Twitter to file a complaint against BBC the nominations list for “platforming transphobic views and breaching their own journalistic policies on ‘balance’ and ‘virtue signalling’.”
I've made a complaint to the BBC about the 2020 Russell Prize on the basis that they are platforming transphobic views and breaching their own journalistic policies on 'balance' and 'virtue signalling' – I encourage you to do the same: https://t.co/Sig7ZWqN7G #JKRowling
— Matt a-loose-collection-of-short-stories Casbourne (@Matt_Casbourne) December 21, 2020
While another user didn’t hold back and called Jk Rowling a bigot. The tweet read, “It’s about time we stopped passing transphobia, homophobia, racism and sexism off as opinions someone has a right to express through freedom of speech. Prejudice and systemic oppression are NOT opinions. #JKRowling is not a heroic writer, she is a bigot”
It's about time we stopped passing transphobia, homophobia, racism and sexism off as opinions someone has a right to express through freedom of speech. Prejudice and systemic oppression are NOT opinions. #JKRowling is not a heroic writer, she is a bigot
— Lauren Cole (@_lauren_cole) December 21, 2020
The nominations list featured four other writers and announced Decca Aitkenhead as the winner.
Image credits: NBCnews.com