U.K. Prime Minister Backs J.K. Rowling After She Dares Scottish Police to ‘Arrest Me’ Over New Hate Crime Act

U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has backed J.K. Rowling after the “Harry Potter” author spoke out against Scotland’s new hate crime act, daring the police to arrest her for misgendering trans women.

The act, which went into effect on Monday, includes an offense for “stirring up hatred” regarding age, disability, religion, sexual orientation, transgender identity and variations in sex characteristics. In a lengthy thread posted on Monday to X, formerly known as Twitter, Rowling listed 10 trans women — including India Willoughby, who in March reported Rowling to the police for alleged transphobia — who would be protected under the act.

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“April Fools!” wrote Rowling, who lives in Edinburgh. “Only kidding. Obviously, the people mentioned in the above tweets aren’t women at all, but men, every last one of them. In passing the Scottish Hate Crime Act, Scottish lawmakers seem to have placed higher value on the feelings of men performing their idea of femaleness, however misogynistically or opportunistically, than on the rights and freedoms of actual women and girls.”

Rowling continued, “I’m currently out of the country, but if what I’ve written here qualifies as an offense under the terms of the new act, I look forward to being arrested when I return to the birthplace of the Scottish Enlightenment.” Under the post, she added the hashtag “#ArrestMe.”

Later on Monday, Sunak released a statement to the Daily Telegraph defending Rowling’s views. “People should not be criminalized for stating simple facts on biology,” he said. “We believe in free speech in this country, and Conservatives will always protect it.”

In a statement on Tuesday to the BBC, Police Scotland said that Rowling’s posts are not being treated as criminal.

In March, broadcaster Willoughby said that she reported Rowling to the Northumbria Police for repeatedly misgendering her online. “I have reported J.K. Rowling to the police for what she said, which I don’t know if that’s going to be treated as a hate crime, malicious communications — but it’s a cut-and-dry offense, as far as I’m concerned,” she said.

Rowling responded to Willoughby’s revelation on X by saying that she had consulted a lawyer who said “that not only did I have a clearly winnable case against India Willoughby for defamation, but that India’s obsessive targeting of me over the past few years may meet the legal threshold for harassment.”

The author continued to claim that “gender critical views can be protected in law as a philosophical belief. No law compels anyone to pretend to believe that India is a woman.”

Rowling has come under fire in recent years for her views surrounding the transgender community, particularly trans women, which many have perceived as anti-trans. Her comments have been criticized by those in the “Harry Potter” world, including actors Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint and Eddie Redmayne. However, on a Feb. 23 earnings call, Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav said that execs recently met with Rowling regarding Max’s upcoming “Harry Potter” series.

“We spent some real time with J.K. and her team,” Zaslav said on the call. “Both sides are just thrilled to be reigniting this franchise. Our conversations were great, and we couldn’t be more excited about what’s ahead. We can’t wait to share a decade of new stories with fans around the world on Max.”

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