Under the pen name Robert Galbraith, JK Rowling released her latest thriller, Troubled Blood. The 900 page novel is a mystery/thriller and is seemingly apolitical in its nature. Nonetheless, #RIPJKRowling captured the top of the hashtag charts on Tuesday, and put Rowling back in the controversy spotlight.
The book was criticized as 'anti-trans' and 'transphobic' by critics and journalists who had never read the book, and took a single sentence in a review from the Telegraph to make their case. In that review, Jake Kerridge asserted that the book focuses on a "transvestite serial killer."
"[T]he investigation into a cold case: the disappearance of GP Margot Bamborough in 1974, thought to have been a victim of Dennis Creed, a transvestite serial killer. One wonders what critics of Rowling's stance on trans issues will make of a book whose moral seems to be: never trust a man in a dress," states Kerridge in his review.
This one review of the unreleased book set the internet off, and led to the #RIPJKRowling upheaval. Other outlets, like the DailyXtra, echoed the Telegraph review, causing a sort of outrage domino effect.
Canadian journalist Erica Lenti jumped aboard the JK-hate bandwagon as well, claiming that the new book is "super transphobic." Though she claimed to have receipts for her claim, those receipts do include her having actually read the book.
Lenti's review made the rounds, inspiring others who had not read the book to make the same false claims that Lenti had. This false claim, based on assumptions and not from reading the book, led to a backlash against not only this, but all of Rowling's books.
Contrary to the one reviewer and his interpretation, other journalists have now read the actual book and have come out claiming that this is essentially one large false attack on JK Rowling. Nick Cohen of the Spectator, read the book, and shared his revelations in his piece.
"The moral of the book is not 'never trust a man in a dress'. Transvestism barely featured. When it does, nothing is made of the fact that the killer wears a wig and a woman’s coat (not a dress) as a disguise when approaching one of his victims." Cohen writes.
It appears to be true that in this 900 page novel, this one character mentioned is a minor and seemingly side note to the actual villain.
After more information about the novel became public, there was a small push to demand retractions from the journalists who attacked Rowling without having read the book.
However, those journalists who trashed the book as bigoted and vile without having read it seem certain that they will stand by their original statements, and not make any correction due to the emergence of facts.