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The Independent’s double standards for J.K. Rowling

The Independent's double standards for J.K. Rowling
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It's fair to say that J.K. Rowling's latest intervention has put the cat amongst the pigeons. The Harry Potter author criticised Police Scotland's new policy for trans suspects after the force confirmed it will record rapes by offenders with a penis as carried out by a woman if they identify as female, regardless of whether they have legally changed gender. Rowling's implicit criticism of this move – riffing on Orwell that: 'War is Peace. Freedom is Slavery. Ignorance is Strength. The Penised Individual Who Raped You Is a Woman' – has sparked a terrific backlash, with much of it seeming to come from angry, pompous middle-aged men.

But leaving aside the Jolyons of this world, the most extraordinary attack seems to have come from the Independent whose editorial standards are well known to Mr S. The defunct newspaper has run a comment piece from Noah Berlatsky, under the headline 'J.K. Rowling keeps tweeting and we keep wondering why.' Berlatsky says that 'if Rowling really wanted to advocate for victims of violence, she would advocate for trans women, who are disproportionately victims' adding that 'it seems clear at this point' that 'her main priority' is to not stop causing 'pain.'

So who is this little-known sage of sexual ethics? Berlatsky, it transpires, works for the controversial not-for-profit Prostasia Foundation which has been accused of trying to normalise paedophilia through its work. The organisation calls paedophiles ‘minor attracted persons’ or MAPs, through tools like its 'MAP support club' for those aged 13 or up – 'a peer support chat for minor attracted people who are fundamentally against child sexual abuse and committed to never harm children, and is a safe space to have peer support in times of trouble.'

Berlatsky himself has previously written that 'Paedophiles are essentially a stigmatised group' and criticised even the definition of 'trafficking' saying it 'conflates underage people trading sex, consensual sex work, immigration, and all kinds of labor exploitation in all industries.' He claims 'child sex trafficking' is a 'deliberately obfuscating term which is basically designed to target sex workers rather than labour exploitation.' 

He's also tweeted that 'parents are tyrants. 'parent' is an oppressive class, like rich people or white people' and that 'there are things you can do to try to minimise the abuse that's endemic to the parent/child relationship but it's always there'. One to remember the next time the Indy run another comment piece assailing someone else for 'normalising' or 'platforming' extremism or opining on sexual ethics.

Clearly Berlatsky is a far more superior sort than the dreadful type who give charities millions by writing popular books for children.

Written bySteerpike

Steerpike is The Spectator's gossip columnist, serving up the latest tittle tattle from Westminster and beyond. Email tips to steerpike@spectator.co.uk or message @MrSteerpike

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Topics in this articlePoliticsjk rowlingthe independent