J.K. Rowling shares powerful message about Donald Trump… and those who oppose him
She may have constructed a magical wizarding world, but J.K. Rowling wants to bring you back down to earth.
In a powerful speech made at the 2016 PEN Literary Awards Gala on Monday night, Rowling called out presidential candidate Donald Trump for intolerance and hateful speech.
“I find almost everything that Mr. Trump says objectionable,” Rowling said. “I consider him offensive and bigoted.”
But Rowling’s speech wasn’t so much a take down of Trump as much as it was a lambast against those who would silence him.
“But he has my full support to come to my country and be offensive and bigoted there,” addressing a petition started to ban Donald Trump from entering the UK.
Rowling then clarified, “If my offended feelings can constitute a travel ban on Donald Trump, I have no moral grounds on which to argue that those offended by feminism or the fight for transgender rights or universal suffrage should not oppress campaigners for those causes. If you seek the removal of freedoms from an opponent simply on the grounds that they have offended you, you have crossed a line to stand along tyrants who imprison, torture and kill on exactly the same justification.”
Rowling concluded her speech by invoking the words of Tal al-Mallohi, an 18-year-old Syrian blogger imprisoned for her writing.
“‘All you and I have to do is respect each other, tolerate the views of your opponents coolly and patiently. While listening to them, do not think to respond without listening to all opposing opinions.'”
Rowling’s speech was not the first time in the night that the evening veered toward politics.
“We have a presidential candidate who deploys insults and unapologetic lies to consolidate his power,” said PEN President Andrew Solomon during the gala’s opening speech. “We face a larger political establishment that has deliberated escalated xenophobia, frightening everyone so much that many Americans won’t leave their country nor rise to welcome those who knock on our door.”
And earlier in the year, at the PEN Literary Awards Ceremony, Brooklyn Poet Laureate Tina Chang remarked, “Taking my [family] background into consideration, we would be most unpopular with certain presidential candidates…I think we need fewer walls and more book awards.”
While Chang did not call out Trump by name at the ceremony, she did clarify at a reception afterward, “I think we all knew who I was talking about.”
Rowling’s own remarks were delivered during her acceptance speech for the 2016 PEN/Allen Foundation Literary Service Award, an annual award conferred to a critically acclaimed author whose work embodies PEN’s mission to oppose repression in any form and champion the best of humanity. Past winners have included playwright Tom Stoppard, Salman Rushdie and Phillip Roth.