BBC sorry for poor effort to protect JK Rowling from ‘baseless’ claims

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The BBC has apologised for its “poor effort” to resist “baseless accusations” of transphobia against JK Rowling on BBC Radio 4. Stacey Henley, a trans woman and editor-in-chief at The Gamer, said the Harry Potter creator was pushing “transphobia” and a “campaign against trans people”. She made the comments while discussing a new Harry Potter video game called Hogwarts Legacy.

The radio host Evan Davis replied: “Obviously, JK Rowling… wouldn’t say she’s transphobic.”

The presenter was swiftly criticised by the women’s rights group For Women Scotland for only making “perfunctory efforts” to intervene as part of the “skewed piece”.

After the show, which took place on Thursday, Mr Davis said the programme “hadn’t intended it that way”.

A BBC spokesperson said: “This is a difficult and contentious area which we do try very hard to cover fairly.

“However, we should have challenged the claims more directly and we apologise that we did not.”

For Women Scotland told “We are pleased that the BBC has decided to issue an apology, but the damage will have been done by broadcasting this interview.

“We also believe that Evan Davies and the producers must have been aware that this might happen and should have prepared for the eventuality. It was completely unacceptable that such defamatory comments were aired unchecked and we trust that a piece of equivalent length will feature on PM in the near future to set the record straight.”

The author, who has been at the centre of accusations like these for years, first got into hot water after “liking” a tweet which was critical of the transgender rights movement.

Since then, she has published a series of long blog posts and quick tweets with her thoughts about gender and feminism.

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Benjamin Jones, a spokesperson for the Free Speech Union told Henley’s comments on BBC were part of a long-term “campaign” to “smear” and “bully” people who do not agree with what he calls the “trans ideology”.

Talking about the recent incident, Mr Jones said: “It’s a completely baseless accusation and it’s part of a long-running pattern we see at the Free Speech Union where people are smeared or bullied if they don’t agree with trans ideology.

“JK Rowling has shown tremendous moral courage in speaking out about these issues.

“But for people who don’t have wealth the consequences can be devastating: you can lose your job and find you can’t pay the mortgage, just because you don’t agree with the beliefs of trans rights activists.”

Radio 4 has a recent history of being lambasted for the way it discusses Ms Rowling.

A presenter was accused of “bracketing” Ms Rowling in with sex offenders US singer R Kelly and sculptor Eric Gill.

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