Rachel Riley defends JK Rowling from woke 'attacks' over trans views

15 May 2022, 17:31 | Updated: 18 May 2022, 10:09

Rachel Riley has defended JK Rowling
Rachel Riley has defended JK Rowling. Picture: Alamy

By Emma Soteriou

Countdown star Rachel Riley has defended JK Rowling over "attacks" she has received about her views on trans rights.

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Ms Riley said most of the criticism the author faced actually stemmed from her defence of Jews "against Jeremy Corbyn and antisemitism".

It came as the maths whiz, who has appeared on Countdown since 2009, was asked in an interview about the backlash the Harry Potter author has received.

JK Rowling has been embroiled in a transgender row for several years, having received an onslaught of online abuse for her stand on women's rights.

Rowling previously claimed trans women athletes should not complete in women's sports and criticised an article for avoiding using the word "women", and instead opting for "people who menstruate".

Read more: Trans author 'burns JK Rowling alive' in horror novel based on killing 'radical feminists'
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Rachel Riley spoke out about the issue in a recent interview.
Rachel Riley spoke out about the issue in a recent interview. Picture: Alamy

Speaking to the Times, Ms Riley said: "I think a lot of the attacks on JK Rowling are really because she spoke out for Jews and against Jeremy Corbyn and antisemitism."

She also commended the author for her philanthropy, adding: "She has made a real difference to the world. And [just saying] this will get us both cancelled."

Ms Riley spoke up against antisemitism in the Labour Party during the Corbyn era, condemning the leader for not tackling the problem.

In 2020, Corbyn expressed "regret" at the pain caused for the Jewish community after a watchdog found he had failed to stamp out antisemitism within the Labour party.

He was later suspended by the party after claiming the issue of antisemitism had been "dramatically overstated for political reasons" before going on to apologise for "belittling concerns".

JK Rowling has received an online backlash for her views
JK Rowling has received an online backlash for her views. Picture: Alamy

At the time, JK Rowling was among those using her mass following on Twitter to draw attention to what had been happening and call out antisemitism.

In 2020, she also responded to backlash on her trans views, saying: "I respect every trans person's right to live any way that feels authentic and comfortable to them.

"I'd march with you if you were discriminated against on the basis of being trans.

"At the same time, my life has been shaped by being female. I do not believe it's hateful to say so."

Writing on Twitter after Sunday's interview was published, Ms Riley said: "I support trans rights for people to live as they please & I support JK Rowling who also does.

"We all know any mention of this subject whatsoever will result in a pile on for whoever dares comment.

"It's horrible and I'm so sorry for the people directly affected by this toxicity."