‘Not fair’ to call JK Rowling ‘transphobic bigot’, broadcast regulator says

A broadcasting regulator has ruled it is “not fair” to call JK Rowling a “transphobic bigot”.

Ireland’s top regulator, the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI), has spoken out in favour of a complaint made against the comment, which was said on Today FM in September 2020.

It is the first time the BAI has upheld a listener complaint in three years.

Rowling was called a “transphobic bigot” on The Last Word with Matt Cooper months after the Harry Potter author was criticised for calling out an article’s use of the phrase “people who menstruate”.

While many Twitter users supported Rowling for her tweet, there were plenty – including numerous celebrities and Harry Potter star Katie Leung – who criticised her comment as “anti-trans”, arguing that transgender, non-binary and non-gender conforming people can also menstruate.

“I’m sure there used to be a word for those people,” Rowling had written, adding: “Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?”

According to RTE, the complainant said there was no “evidence” to “back up” the claim that Rowling was being “transphobic”.

They also accused the presenters of failing to challenge the statement, which led to the ruling that the authority’s Code of Fairness, Objectivity and Impartiality in News and Current Affairs was broken.

However, bosses at Today FM have defended the segment, calling it a “lively miscellany in which opinions are encouraged”.