Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

JK Rowling: Donald Trump has a right to be bigoted

jktrump.jpg

JK Rowling has defended Donald Trump's right to be "offensive and bigoted."

The Harry Potter author, a vocal critic of the controversial Republican, took to the podium at the PEN Literary Gala and Free Expression Awards to discuss the importance of upholding rights to free speech.

Rowling, who was being honoured for her literary and humanitarian work, used her address to both take a swipe at Trump's views - and defend his right to have them.

She said that while she found the Republican party's presumptive presidential candidate “objectionable” she was concerned by a popular petition that called for him to be banned from entering the UK.

“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 alongside tyrants who imprison, torture and kill on exactly the same justifications,” she told the audience in New York.

Last year half a million people added their names to an online petition to bar Trump, 69, from Britain after the he called for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.”

“I consider him offensive and bigoted, but he has my full support to come to my country and be offensive and bigoted there," the 50-year-old said. "His freedom to speak is my freedom to call him a bigot. His freedom guarantees mine.”

She continued: “If my offended feelings can justify 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.”

“The tides of populism and nationalism currently sweeping many developed countries have been accompanied by demands that unwelcome and inconvenient voices be removed from public discourse,” she said.

“It seems that unless a commentator or a television channel or a newspaper reflects exactly the complainant’s world view it must be guilty of bias or corruption.”

The writer's personal dislike of Trump's rhetoric is well documented. She branded him worse than her fictional villain Voldemort in a tweet last year, and in January she tweeted a link to her seven million followers showing an offensive comment Trump's spokesman made about President Barack Obama.

Skip to 1:48 to watch Rowling's speech:

Images: Rex Features

Related

rexfeatures_4627355l.jpg

20 fascinating facts about J.K. Rowling you probably never knew

wys.jpg

Elderly couple party 'til dawn at Fabric

chelsea.jpg

Chelsea Handler: “I don't care if I embarrass myself”

rebel1 fitness spinning class london bus commuter 1.jpg

London gym launching spin classes on a BUS for busy commuters

bike_rt.jpg

This week's Style List

opener_rt.jpg

Lindy West on why women need to be bigger

iStock_000063336005_Medium.jpg

“Word to your boss – this overtime has to stop”

IMG_5144_rt.jpg

“Did I inherit my mum’s depression?”

thelma-and-louise-reunion-1.jpg

Susan Sarandon: Thelma and Louise would never have been made today

Comments

More

The best A-list Instagrams from the week so far

From Heidi Klum's bedtime pals to J Lo's new accolade

by Nicola Colyer
19 Jan 2017

Blake Lively's important message to women during these difficult times

“You are valuable, and no one can limit you”

by Kayleigh Dray
19 Jan 2017

Watch Michelle Obama take one last look around the White House

A walk to remember.

by Moya Crockett
19 Jan 2017

Donald Trump lashes out at latest designer refusing to dress Melania

So is the fashion designer “overrated” or “nasty”? It’s time for a game of Trump-lingo bingo…

by Kayleigh Dray
19 Jan 2017

Reese Witherspoon reveals plans for Legally Blonde 3

We don’t think we’ve been this excited since Gucci became a publicly-traded company

by Kayleigh Dray
18 Jan 2017

Sienna Miller says sexist tabloids “overshadowed” her acting career

“They preferred to paint me out as someone’s girlfriend”

by Kayleigh Dray
18 Jan 2017

See President Obama’s heartfelt birthday message to Michelle

He paid tribute to Michelle Obama on her 53rd birthday

by Kayleigh Dray
18 Jan 2017

Michelle Obama 'to pursue career as children’s book author'

Here’s what the First Lady has planned for life after FLOTUS

by Kayleigh Dray
17 Jan 2017

Katherine Heigl reveals traditional name for baby boy

Heigl and her husband, Josh Kelley, have welcomed their first son together

by Kayleigh Dray
17 Jan 2017

Emma Watson almost played another Disney princess instead of Belle

"Belle just resonated with me so much more.”

by Moya Crockett
17 Jan 2017