J.K. Rowling (AP/Dan Hallman)

"Harry Potter" author J.K. Rowling defends Donald Trump's right to "be offensive and bigoted"

She defended the principle behind his free speech, not anything he's ever actually said, thankfully


Scott Eric Kaufman
May 17, 2016 4:54PM (UTC)

J.K. Rowling is clearly no fan of presumptive Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, having responded to a BBC article last year that characterized him as Harry Potter's nemesis Voldemort by tweeting:

However, in a speech at the 2016 PEN Literary Awards Gala on Monday, she defended Trump's rights to be speak as horribly as he'd like, both in America and abroad.

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"I find almost everything that Mr. Trump says objectionable," she began. "And I consider him offensive and bigoted -- but he has my full support to come to my country and be offensive and bigoted there. His freedom to speak protects my freedom to call him a bigot."

Rowling noted that the 2015 petition to ban Trump from the entering the United Kingdom disturbed her, because if people could be banned simply for disagreeing with the majority opinion of a country, she would have "no moral grounds on which to argue that those offended by feminism or the right 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," she concluded, "you have crossed a line to stand along tyrants who imprison, torture and kill on exactly the same justification."

Watch her entire speech below via PEN America beginning at the 1 hour, 48 minute mark.

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Scott Eric Kaufman

Scott Eric Kaufman is an assistant editor at Salon. He taught at a university, but then thought better of it. Follow him at @scottekaufman or email him at skaufman@salon.com.

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Donald Trump Elections 2016 Free Speech J.k. Rowling

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