JK Rowling hate crime comments 'not criminal' police confirm after author 'dares' arrest

2 April 2024, 18:06 | Updated: 2 April 2024, 18:15

JK Rowling comments 'not criminal' police announce following passage of new hate crime legislation. Picture: Getty Images

By Flaminia Luck

Police in Scotland say JK Rowling's comments on new hate crime laws are "not criminal" after she dared them to "arrest" her.

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In an 11-tweet post shared to social media, Ms Rowling opposed the new legislation which came into effect on 1st April.

Ms Rowling, who lives in Edinburgh, has been an outspoken critic of the trans rights movement and said the new law was "wide open to abuse by activists".

On Tuesday, Police Scotland confirmed it had received complaints about the social media post but that no action would be taken.

In response to the news, Rowling posted on Twitter/X: "I hope every woman in Scotland who wishes to speak up for the reality and importance of biological sex will be reassured by this announcement, and I trust that all women - irrespective of profile or financial means - will be treated equally under the law."

Protest against hate crime legislation takes place outside Scottish Parliament

In the original social media post, the Harry Potter writer, argued: "It is impossible to accurately describe or tackle the reality of violence and sexual violence committed against women and girls, or address the current assault on women's and girls' rights, unless we are allowed to call a man a man."

Read more: 'Arrest me': JK Rowling leads critics of new Scotland hate crime laws as protesters say they are 'prepared to be jailed'

Criticising the new laws, she affirmed the "legislation is wide open to abuse by activists who wish to silence those of us speaking out about the dangers of eliminating women's and girls' single-sex spaces".

Rowling added: "I'm currently out of the country, but if what I've written here qualifies as an offence under the terms of the new act, I look forward to being arrested when I return to the birthplace of the Scottish Enlightenment."

The author's comments were shared by roughly 300 protesters who gathered outside Scotland's Parliament to demonstrate against the recent legislation, with some saying they are "prepared to be jailed".

The Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Act 2021, which came into effect on Monday, makes it a criminal offence to make derogatory comments based on disability, religion, sexual orientation, transgender identity or being intersex.

Stirring up hatred based on race, colour, nationality or ethnicity was already illegal in Great Britain under the Public Order Act 1986 but is now included in the new law.

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Echoing Rowling, on Tuesday, Rishi Sunak supported the author by saying people should not be criminalised "for stating simple facts on biology".

The prime minister would not be drawn on whether he supported her approach, saying that it was "not right for me to comment on police matters, individual matters".

But he added: "We should not be criminalising people saying common sense things about biological sex, clearly that isn’t right.

He added the UK had a proud tradition of free speech.

Ms Rowling has received backlash for her criticism the transgender rights movement
Ms Rowling has received backlash for her criticism of the transgender rights movement. Picture: Alamy