J.K. Rowling Defends Free Speech—and Donald Trump
J.K. Rowling wants to remind you that freedom of expression includes people whose opinions you find most “offensive and bigoted.” Chief among them, for her: presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump.
In a speech at the PEN America literary gala on Monday night, Rowling used her personal distaste for Trump’s demagoguery to make a larger case for global freedom to speak. “Now, I find almost everything that Mr. Trump says objectionable. I consider him offensive and bigoted. But he has my full support to come to my country and be offensive and bigoted there,” she said, noting a popular online petition to ban Trump from entering the U.K. “His freedom to speak protects my freedom to call him a bigot. His freedom guarantees mine.”
The Harry Potter author’s comments came after British lawmakers debated banning Trump from local travel for “hate speech.”
“If you seek the removal of freedoms from an opponent simply on the grounds that they have offended you,” she said, “you have crossed a line to stand along tyrants who imprison, torture and kill on exactly the same justification.”