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JK Rowling – latest: Trans YouTuber apologises for contributing to new podcast about Harry Potter author

JK Rowling will give a rare interview in which she addresses her controversial remarks on transgender rights.

In a forthcoming seven-episode podcast titled The Witch Trials of JK Rowling, the Harry Potter author sits down with US writer Megan Phelps-Roper at her home in Edinburgh.

Phelps-Roper is the granddaughter of Fred Phelps – pastor of the notorious Westboro Baptist Church. After leaving the church in 2012, Phelps-Roper became a prominent critic of its philosophy and practices.

Podcast host Free Press describes The Witch Trials of JK Rowling, out on 21 February, as an “audio documentary that examines some of the most contentious conflicts of our time through the life and career of the world’s most successful author”.

“I never set out to upset anyone. However, I was not uncomfortable with getting off my pedestal,” Rowling says in the trailer.

“What has interested me in recent years, particularly on social media [is when fans say], ‘You’ve ruined your legacy. Oh, you could have been beloved forever, but you chose to say this.’ And I think: ‘You could not have misunderstood me more profoundly.’”

Trans YouTuber Natalie Wynn, who is known as ContraPoints, has apologised for agreeing to be interviewed for the podcast.

Follow the latest updates below:

Key points

  • Listen to a trailer for the podcast

  • What we know about host Megan Phelps-Roper

  • Rowling says she ‘never set out to upset anyone'

Listen to the podcast trailer here

17:00 , Ellie Harrison

The Witch Trials of JK Rowling premieres on Tuesday, 21 February, 2023. The first two episodes land on that day, with the rest airing weekly.

Hear the Harry Potter author speaking in a trailer for the podcast below...

Mark Hamill recently defended himself for liking a post by JK Rowling

16:15 , Ellie Harrison

The Star Wars actor defended himself after he became the centre of fan ire for liking a tweet from JK Rowling that some users deemed “transphobic”.

Read the full story below...

Mark Hamill explains why he ‘liked’ controversial JK Rowling post

ContraPoints distances herself from podcast

15:39 , Ellie Harrison

Trans YouTuber Natalie Wynn, who is known as ContraPoints, has apologised for agreeing to be interviewed for the podcast. “I agreed,” she wrote on Twitter. “This was a serious lapse in judgement.”

ContraPoints (ContraPoints)
ContraPoints (ContraPoints)

How The New York Times was rocked by JK Rowling trans row

15:07 , Ellie Harrison

An editorial in The New York Times that defended the views of the author has reignited a war of words between the newspaper and its staff over the coverage of transgender issues.

Staff and contributors penned a letter this week criticising the publication’s coverage.

The letter, addressed to The Times’ associate managing editor for standards, said the signatories had “serious concerns” about what they described as “editorial bias” in its coverage.

Read the full story here:

How The New York Times was rocked by JK Rowling trans row

JK Rowling said she agreed to the interview as she hoped it would be ‘constructive'

14:31 , Ellie Harrison

Posting on Twitter last week, Rowling wrote: “Last year, I received a long, thoughtful letter from @Meganphelps, inviting me to take part in a personal, in-depth discussion with her about the issues that have interested me in recent years.

“Megan proposed bringing in other voices, and looking at the wider picture, bringing her own unique viewpoint as a former fundamentalist who’s dedicated her life over the past decade to difficult conversations.

“I agreed to sit down with Megan because, having read her wonderful book, Unfollow, I thought the two of us could have a real, interesting, two-sided conversation that might prove constructive.”

Everything we know about the podcast

13:34 , Ellie Harrison

From how to stream it to what to expect from its host and its subject, find the full story below:

When is JK Rowling’s podcast launching?

JK Rowling and the NYT controversy

12:55 , Ellie Harrison

The New York Times published an article this month titled “In defence of JK Rowling”, defending the Harry Potter author’s reputation against accusations of transphobia.

Read Julia Bell’s thoughts on the topic here...

Opinion: JK Rowling and the New York Times furore: How did we get here?

What we know about host Megan Phelps-Roper

11:40 , Ellie Harrison

Megan Phelps-Roper is 37 and she lives in rural South Dakota. She is best known for escaping what Louis Theroux called “the most hated family in America” in his 2007 documentary on the extremist Westboro Baptist Church, led by Phelps-Roper’s grandfather Fred Phelps.

The hate group, founded in Topeka, Kansas, picketed the funerals of soldiers and Aids victims. It is known for its hate speech against atheists, Jews, Muslims, transgender people, and numerous Christian denominations. Their theology and practises have been rejected almost universally by Christian churches.

Phelps-Roper distanced herself from the group in 2012, largely thanks to discovering other points of view on Twitter, which she had joined three years earlier to spread the church’s message.

She has written a book about her experience, Unfollow, and she is now a speaker and activist.

For the podcast, Phelps-Roper travelled to Rowling’s Edinburgh castle and, for six days in May and August, conducted intimate interviews with the author.

The podcast is out on 21 February.

Listen to the podcast trailer here

11:07 , Ellie Harrison

The Witch Trials of JK Rowling premieres on Tuesday, 21 February, 2023. The first two episodes land on that day, with the rest airing weekly.

Hear the Harry Potter author speaking in a trailer for the podcast below...

What Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe has said about Rowling’s views on transgender issues

10:20 , Ellie Harrison

Harry Potter film star Daniel Radcliffe wrote an essay for The Trevor Project in 2020, in support of trans people.

“Transgender women are women,” he wrote. “Any statement to the contrary erases the identity and dignity of transgender people and goes against all advice given by professional health care associations who have far more expertise on this subject matter than either [Rowling] or I.

“It’s clear that we need to do more to support transgender and nonbinary people, not invalidate their identities, and not cause further harm.”

Megan Phelps-Roper says new podcast was ‘never intended to vindicate’ author

09:45 , Ellie Harrison

Phelps-Roper has given an interview about the new podcast, in which she said: “This was never a defence of JK Rowling. It was never intended to vindicate her.

“It’s an attempt to understand what’s happening, and to do that you need the perspectives of so many other people – on all sides – because the issues are so complex.”

Read the full story below...

Megan Phelps-Roper says new podcast was ‘never intended to vindicate’ JK Rowling

JK Rowling said she agreed to the interview as she hoped it would be ‘constructive'

09:15 , Ellie Harrison

Posting on Twitter last week, Rowling wrote: “Last year, I received a long, thoughtful letter from @Meganphelps, inviting me to take part in a personal, in-depth discussion with her about the issues that have interested me in recent years.

“Megan proposed bringing in other voices, and looking at the wider picture, bringing her own unique viewpoint as a former fundamentalist who’s dedicated her life over the past decade to difficult conversations.

“I agreed to sit down with Megan because, having read her wonderful book, Unfollow, I thought the two of us could have a real, interesting, two-sided conversation that might prove constructive.”

What we know about host Megan Phelps-Roper

08:45 , Ellie Harrison

Megan Phelps-Roper is 37 and she lives in rural South Dakota. She is best known for escaping what Louis Theroux called “the most hated family in America” in his 2007 documentary on the extremist Westboro Baptist Church, led by Phelps-Roper’s grandfather Fred Phelps.

The hate group, founded in Topeka, Kansas, picketed the funerals of soldiers and Aids victims. It is known for its hate speech against atheists, Jews, Muslims, transgender people, and numerous Christian denominations. Their theology and practises have been rejected almost universally by Christian churches.

Phelps-Roper distanced herself from the group in 2012, largely thanks to discovering other points of view on Twitter, which she had joined three years earlier to spread the church’s message.

She has written a book about her experience, Unfollow, and she is now a speaker and activist.

For the podcast, Phelps-Roper travelled to Rowling’s Edinburgh castle and, for six days in May and August, conducted intimate interviews with the author.

The podcast is out on 21 February.

Listen to the podcast trailer here

08:11 , Ellie Harrison

The Witch Trials of JK Rowling premieres Tuesday, 21 February, 2023.

Hear the Harry Potter author speaking in a trailer for the podcast below...

JK Rowling to discuss trans views in new podcast

07:49 , Ellie Harrison

JK Rowling is addressing the controversy surrounding her stance on transgender rights head-on in a forthcoming podcast entitled The Witch Trials of JK Rowling.

The Harry Potter author has faced a sustained backlash in recent years for statements she has made about gender ideology that critics and prominent voices in the LGBT+ community have described as “transphobic”.

“I never set out to upset anyone. However, I was not uncomfortable with getting off my pedestal,” Rowling says in the trailer for the podcast, which is hosted by Free Press.

Free Press is the independent media company founded by former New York Times opinions editor Bari Weiss, who is known for writing provocative columns about “woke culture” and gender issues.

Full story:

JK Rowling says statements about trans people have been ‘profoundly’ misunderstood