Hachette, the publisher of J.K Rowling’s children’s fairytale Ickabog, says her recent anti-trans tweets are examples of freedom of speech and won’t let their employees recuse themselves from working on the book.
Rowling was recently amid controversy with a series of transphobic tweets. It started when she shared an article called “Opinion: Creating a more equal post-COVID-19 world for people who menstruate,” alongside a tweet saying, “People who menstruate.’ I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?” The author has been criticized by many, including Harry Potter stars Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, and Katie Leung, as well as from the wider community, even managing to get backlash from some of the stars of Ru Paul’s Drag Race.
However, Hachette, who are publishing Ickabog, have said that they stand behind Rowling’s right to freedom of speech, and say her tweets won’t affect the publication of the book. The publisher released the statement in response to several employees who had threatened to stop working on the book.
In the statement, Hachette says they respect an employee’s right to refuse to work on a book that has content that offends their views, and they will not allow them to down tools on a project because they disagree with the opinions of the author outside of the work. Here is the full statement given by Hachette:
“We are proud to publish J K Rowling’s children’s fairytale The Ickabog. Freedom of speech is the cornerstone of publishing. We fundamentally believe that everyone has the right to express their own thoughts and beliefs. That’s why we never comment on our authors’ personal views and we respect our employees’ right to hold a different view. We will never make our employees work on a book whose content they find upsetting for personal reasons, but we draw a distinction between that and refusing to work on a book because they disagree with an author’s views outside their writing, which runs contrary to our belief in free speech.”