A news website for teenagers has been forced to apologise to author JK Rowling over an article suggesting its readers should boycott her work.
The Day, which former Daily Express editor Richard Addi launched in January 2011 to help explain current affairs to students, has also agreed to make a financial contribution to a charity of Rowling’s choice over the complaint.
The publication faced legal action from Harry Potter author Rowling over an article entitled: “Potterheads cancel Rowling after trans tweet”.
Published on June 10, the article referenced the recent row over Rowling’s views about transgender people.
Four days earlier, Rowling had quote-tweeted an article with the title: ‘Opinion: Creating a more equal post-COVID-19 world for people who menstruate’.
Rowling took issue with the phrasing, tweeting: “‘People who menstruate’. I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?”
The tweet sparked widespread criticism, with many social media users taking issue with Rowling appearing to define women as “people who menstruate”.
The Day article discussed the controversy, before asking its readers to consider whether it is still possible to enjoy works of art created by “deeply unpleasant people”, comparing Rowling to historic figures including German composer Richard Wagner and Spanish artist Pablo Picasso.
In a statement, The Day has now apologised to Rowling after she hired libel lawyers.
“We accept that our article implied that what JK Rowling had tweeted was objectionable and that she had attacked and harmed trans people,” the statement reads.
“The article was critical of JK Rowling personally and suggested that our readers should boycott her work and shame her into changing her behaviour. Our intention was to provoke debate on a complex topic.
“We did not intend to suggest that JK Rowling was transphobic or that she should be boycotted.
“We accept that our comparisons of JK Rowling to people such as Picasso, who celebrated sexual violence, and Wagner, who was praised by the Nazis for his antisemitic and racist views, were clumsy, offensive and wrong.
“Debate about a complex issue where there is a range of legitimate views should have been handled with much more sensitivity and more obvious recognition of the difference between fact and opinion.
“We unreservedly apologise to JK Rowling for the offence caused, are happy to retract these false allegations and to set the record straight.
“We shall be making a financial contribution to a charity of JK Rowling’s choice.”
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