The genius of the ‘I ♥ JK Rowling’ stunt

Aug 1, 2020 by

by Jo Bartosch, spiked:

Trans intolerance has made even the most benign statements unsayable.

It’s hard not to feel a bit sorry for social-justice warriors – it must be exhausting finding things to be offended by. The latest is an advert reading ‘I ♥ JK Rowling’, which was paid for by the campaign group Standing for Women. This fairly innocuous message, displayed to mark the birthday of the best-selling author, has now been removed by Network Rail following online complaints of transphobia. Despite clearly signalling support for those who identify as transgender, Rowling’s expressions of concern about the loss of women-only services for victims of domestic abuse has led her to be branded a bigot. Identical ‘I ♥ JK Rowling’ billboards have been spotted across the United Kingdom. It remains to be seen what the wider response will be.

On 29 July, Network Rail Scotland, which sports a rainbow in its Twitter logo, tweeted: ‘This advert is no longer being displayed at Edinburgh Waverley. The poster in question is against our code of acceptance for advertising in our stations owing to its political nature. We do not allow advertising that is likely to support or promote one viewpoint over another.’ It seems statements in support of a children’s author are now political.

The strategy of Kellie-Jay Keen-Minshull (aka Posie Parker), the brains behind Standing for Women, is a smart one. By placing simple statements in public spaces, she has exposed the hyperbolic claims and bullying tactics of the online mob to the less flattering light of the real world. Following bans from Twitter, Facebook and ‘Mumsnet’, she explained on her podcast that Standing for Women’s approach is to ‘take back the public square’. For Keen-Minshull, who has been censored online, ‘real life interaction’ gives her ‘a chance to breathe’. She explained to me: ‘I hope the general public can see the weight of woman hatred behind this censorship. It sounds hyperbolic, but it’s the only thing that makes sense.’

It would be disingenuous to pretend there isn’t a message underpinning the ‘I ♥ JK Rowling’ statement, but arguably it is no more political than the rainbow flags which now bedeck public buildings during what has become the ‘LGBTQ+ Pride season’.

Read here

Read also: Network Rail’s cowardly JK Rowling decision by Stephen Daisley, Spectator (£)

The Mystery of the Disappearing JK Rowling Poster by Lily Maynard


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