JK Rowling's publisher asked trans activists to edit court report
JK Rowling’s publisher asked transgender activists to edit court report covering free speech ruling
- Ian Yule has resigned after his court report was edited by charity Mermaids
- The 72-year-old’s article was edited at the invitation of Hodder Education
- He resigned from the editorial board of A-level Law Review magazine
JK Rowling’s publisher invited a transgender activist group to edit a court report covering a free speech ruling.
The writer of the legal article said it was ‘effectively destroyed’ due to extensive feedback from trans rights charity Mermaids.
The move by Hodder Education, part of Hachette, saw Ian Yule resign as chairman of the editorial board of A-level Law Review magazine, for which the article was written.
In June, Harry Potter author Miss Rowling expressed ‘deep concerns’ about transgender activism in an essay. It led to some staff at Hachette involved in her new children’s book, The Ickabog, staging a rebellion.
JK Rowling’s publisher invited a transgender activist group to edit a court report covering a free speech ruling
Mr Yule’s article was a summary of a case in which the police were likened to ‘the Gestapo or the Stasi’ for their response to an accusation that businessman Harry Miller, 55, had posted transphobic tweets.
Officers visited his workplace to tell him the tweets – including one saying ‘I was assigned mammal at birth, but my orientation is fish. Don’t mis-species me’ – were recorded as a ‘non-crime hate incident’ after receiving a single complaint in 2019.
High Court judge Mr Justice Julian Knowles’s ruling in February found the force’s actions were a ‘disproportionate interference’ with Mr Miller’s rights to freedom of expression and his tweets were ‘lawful’.
In June, Harry Potter author Miss Rowling expressed ‘deep concerns’ about transgender activism in an essay
However, bosses at Hodder Education felt readers of the court report might find it ‘offensive’ and referred it to Mermaids, according to The Sunday Times.
The charity was asked to suggest ‘examples we can use to counteract the tone and opinions in the piece’ and to suggest changes to ‘anything you feel is untrue, unfair and/or offensive’.
Mermaids’ head of policy reportedly responded with four typed pages of feedback saying the article ‘doesn’t come over as balanced’.
The publisher is said to have already deleted two-thirds of the original article because it had to be ‘very careful how we present certain views’.
Mr Yule, 72, said: ‘This article contained little or no commentary by me, and no comments whatsoever on the issue of transgenderism.
‘My article did not express my own thoughts or beliefs but was a straightforward and accurate report of a High Court judgment.’
Mr Yule said the publisher’s behaviour was ‘far beyond parody’, adding: ‘If the judgment of a respected High Court judge is likely to upset such students and their teachers, they have no business studying or teaching this subject.’
Hodder Education said: ‘In editorial disputes, it is good practice to go to an external body for a second opinion. [Mr Yule] chose not to engage with the Mermaids review or, for the most part, our edits.’
Miss Rowling, 55, has been targeted by trans activists after mocking an online article using the words ‘people who menstruate’ instead of ‘women’.
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