Jonathan Ross backtracks over support for JK Rowling in 'anti-trans' row

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 01:   Jonathan Ross attends the BFI & IWC Luminous Gala at The Roundhouse on October 1, 2019 in London, England. During the event, Oscar-winning director Danny Boyle presented the fourth "IWC Filmmaker Bursary Award in Association with the BFI" worth £50,000.  (Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images for IWC)
Jonathan Ross has backtracked on his comments about JK Rowling's controversial gender tweets. (Getty Images for IWC)

Jonathan Ross has backtracked over his defence of JK Rowling following her controversial comments on gender.

The Harry Potter author has been accused of being “anti-trans” following her post on social media criticising an article which used the term “people who menstruate” instead of the word “women”.

Ross originally offered support for Rowling, tweeting “"For those accusing her of transphobia, please read what she wrote. She is clearly not.”

But the 59-year-old father-of-three has deleted the original tweet and written: “Those who know me will concede I try to be thoughtful & not a d**k. Having talked to some people(OK,my daughters)re my earlier tweet,I’ve come to accept that I’m not in a position to decide what is or isn’t considered transphobic. It’s a wildly sensitive subject. Let’s keep talking.”

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Ross - whose wife is the screenwriter Jane Goldman - is father to daughters Betty, Honey and son Jack.

Honey Ross, 23, branded Rowling a “b***h” over her comments.

Jonathan Ross and wife Jane Goldman and their children Betty Kitten (left) and Honey Kinney (second left) arriving for the premiere of One Day at the Vue Cinema, Westfield Shopping Centre, White City.
Jonathan Ross and wife Jane Goldman with their daughters Betty Kitten Honey Kinney. (PA)

She shared a picture of the cover of Rowling's novel Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix on her Instagram stories, with the title altered to read: "'Harry Potter and the Audacity of This B***h'."

Rowling, 54, posted a series of comments on Twitter on Saturday (6 June) responding to a story with a headline which read: “Opinion: Creating a more equal post-COVID-19 world for people who menstruate.”

She tweeted: “‘People who menstruate’. I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?”

The comment to Rowling’s 14.5 million followers proved unpopular, and have so far led to over 20,000 comments.

In response, the author said: “If sex isn’t real, there’s no same-sex attraction. If sex isn’t real, the lived reality of women globally is erased.

Author and Lumos Foundation founder J.K. Rowling attends the HBO Documentary Films premiere of "Finding the Way Home" at 30 Hudson Yards on Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2019, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)
J.K. Rowling is facing a backlash over her comments on gender. (AP)

“I know and love trans people, but erasing the concept of sex removes the ability of many to meaningfully discuss their lives. It isn’t hate to speak the truth.

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“The idea that women like me, who’ve been empathetic to trans people for decades, feeling kinship because they’re vulnerable in the same way as women – ie, to male violence – “hate” trans people because they think sex is real and has lived consequences – is a nonsense.

“I respect every trans person’s right to live any way that feels authentic and comfortable to them. I’d march with you if you were discriminated against on the basis of being trans.

“At the same time, my life has been shaped by being female. I do not believe it’s hateful to say so.”

Daniel Radcliffe, who starred Harry Potter in the film franchise, has apologised to Rowling’s comments, and actress Katie Leung, who played Cho Chang in the movies, has also commented.