Billy Bragg hits back after JK Rowling accuses him of “insensitivity” over his views on transgender people
Billy Bragg has hit back at JK Rowling after the Harry Potter author accused the musician of “misogyny” for supporting Graham Norton’s views on transgender rights.
Yesterday (October 13), Bragg shared a clip of Norton talking about “cancelled culture” and trans rights at the recent Cheltenham Literary Festival.
“Norton is very good here on John Cleese, telling him that he is only to blame for ‘destroying culture’, and JK Rowling, suggesting that the media speak directly to trans teenagers and their parents rather than just shots of someone famous,” Bragg wrote on Twitter to accompany the clip.
Rowling then responded to Bragg’s tweet: “Rejoice in the recent spate of bearded men who have confidently taken their stand to define what a woman is and throw their support behind threats of rape and death for those who dare them to disagree. You can scoff, but it takes. real courage to come out as an Old Testament prophet.”
The musician said in response that it was “difficult to think of anything that represents Graham Norton’s attitude better than seeing someone with 13.9 million followers respond to a call for fair hearing for trans teens and their parents as he with *check notes*. support for threats of rape and death.”
To that tweet, Rowling responded: “It’s hard to think of a better manifestation of misogyny than men complaining about a woman who has an opinion on women’s rights.”
Bragg replied “I’m not complaining that you have an opinion, JK. I’m complaining that you confuse my opinion with support for rape and death threats. I’m sorry.”
Rowling then highlighted Bragg’s response, writing: “You’ve compared feminists to Nazi eugenics, Billy. Agreed with @grahnort that cancellation culture is nothing but ‘accountability.’ Are rape and murder acceptable ‘accountability’?”
Bragg replied, “No, I don’t think so. I believe that any form of abuse is unacceptable and those who make such threats must be held accountable, no matter what the reason they claim to be. . That is why I am horrified by their accusation that I support such vile behavior.” Please withdraw your comment.”
Continuing the exchange this morning (October 14), Rowling said: “Self-respect? The kind who tried to use the holocaust to attack feminists? Women who stand up for their rights get constant threats of sexual violence. Some have lost their jobs and the protests were under attack. Still, it’s nice to know that you and Norton agree with the culture.”
At the time of writing, Bragg had no response to Rowling’s latest tweet.
Rowling first sparked controversy in June 2020 after denying the use of the phrase “menstruating people” in an article. Harry Potter stars Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint were some of the high-profile names Rowling later criticized. Rowling has denied that she is transphobic.
In November 2021, Bragg spoke out about her decision to change the lyrics to her track “Sexuality” to make it trans-inclusive.
Earlier this week, Bragg joined a strike by Starbucks employees in Buffalo, New York, where she performed her song “Solidarity Forever.”