Hachette U.K. said it was "proud" to release J.K. Rowling's The Ickabog after her anti-trans remarks
Harry Potter writer J.K. Rowling posted transphobic comments on Twitter in early June, which sparked an immediate backlash from fans and from many actors who have worked on the movie adaptations of her work. Her publishing company has a different take. Hachette U.K. released a statement saying it is “proud” to continue working with Rowling on her upcoming children’s book The Ickabog.
“We are proud to publish J.K. Rowling’s children’s fairytale The Ickabog,” Hachette U.K. said in a statement, as reported by The Bookseller. “Freedom of speech is the cornerstone of publishing. We fundamentally believe that everyone has the right to express their own thoughts and beliefs. That’s why we never comment on our authors’ personal views and we respect our employees’ right to hold a different view.”
The statement goes on to note that some employees do not agree with the publisher moving forward with Rowling’s book, but that the backlash hasn’t changed the company’s mind.
“We will never make our employees work on a book whose content they find upsetting for personal reasons,” the statement continues, “but we draw a distinction between that and refusing to work on a book because they disagree with an author’s views outside their writing, which runs contrary to our belief in free speech.”
Additionally, a Hachette U.K. spokesperson told The Bookseller that any employee complaints will be treated on a case-by-case basis “with empathy and compassion.”
This is not the only time recently that Hachette has received pushback from employees when it came to a book the company was involved with. In March, Hachette Book Group, the U.S. division, decided not to publish a memoir from Woody Allen after a staff walkout at the New York office, as reported by The Guardian.
If you missed it, on June 6th Rowling tweeted a link to an article that mentioned “people who menstruate” and sarcastically questioned why they weren’t called “women.” She then posted a few more tweets in which she seemed to confuse gender with sex. She then posted a long essay on her website on June 10th, in which she doubled down on her statements and voiced concerns about people being confused into believing they’re trans, while continuing to say that she supports trans people.