War of words

Dustin Lance Black doesn’t have time for JK Rowling’s crap

Dustin Lance Black and JK Rowling
Dustin Lance Black and JK Rowling (Photos: Kathy Hutchins / Lev Radin
/ Shutterstock)

Writer and producer Dustin Lance Black has condemned author JK Rowling in the strongest possible terms, labeling her a “pretender” and “fraud”.

This week it emerged a character in Rowling’s latest novel – writing under her crime fiction pseudonym Robert Galbraith – is a man who dresses in women’s clothing and murders people.

Related: JK Rowling’s new book is about a man who dresses up like a woman…to kill people

News of the character comes after Rowling has faced a barrage of criticism for voicing her concerns about extending trans rights.

A leading trans right charity in the UK, Mermaids, is among those to express concerns over the character in Troubled Blood. A spokesperson told CNN that someone presenting as another gender to attack people, “Is a long-standing and somewhat tired trope, responsible for the demonization of a small group of people, simply hoping to live their lives with dignity.”

Black – who won a screenwriting Oscar for the movie, Milk, in 2009 – yesterday retweeted a news story from Pink News about Rowling’s latest book.

“JK’s work has always been jammed full of “borrowed” old tropes,” said Black. “It was just that she ”borrowed” tales many enjoyed revisiting. Her new well: long disproven, discriminatory old tropes and lies sewn by bigots. She’s a pretender. A thief. A fraud. And likely always has been.”

Queerty contacted JK Rowling’s press team but they declined to comment on Black’s tweet.

Related: Hagrid comes to J.K. Rowling’s defense because trans people are “waiting to be offended”

After previously expressing support for people who have questioned trans rights, Rowling published a 3,700-word essay in June to explain why she had concerns about allowing people to legally self-identify their gender. The UK has been undergoing a public consultation in recent months into its Gender Recognition Act, basically looking at whether it should simplify the legal process of transitioning.

Rowling raised particular concerns around allowing children to self-identify and allowing trans women into women-only spaces.

Many of those associated with the Harry Potter universe, including Daniel Radcliffe, Eddie Redmayne, and Emma Watson have publicly said they disagree with Rowling’s views. Actor Robbie Coltrane, who played Hagrid in the Potter movies, is the one notable name to this week come out in her defense, suggesting some people were just “waiting to be offended.”

Others – including many longtime Harry Potter fans – have been left dismayed by Rowling’s views on trans issues. Actress Cynthia Nixon, who has a trans son, is among those to slam Rowling.

“It was really painful for [my son] because so much of his childhood was tied up with Harry Potter,” Nixon told The Independent. “We’re a Harry Potter family. The books seem to be about championing people who are different, so for her to select this one group of people who are obviously different and sort of deny their existence, it’s just… it’s really baffling. I know she feels like she’s standing up for feminism, but I don’t get it.”

Black has long been a vocal champion of LGBTQ rights. Besides Milk, he co-produced and co-wrote the TV mini-series When We Rise, about the LGBTQ civil rights movement. He’s married to the British, Olympic diver, Tom Daley.

Rowling made headlines in 2016 when she tweeted support for Daley after he was subjected to homophobic backlash after coming out as gay.

After failing to take a medal in his individual diving event at the 2016 Olympics, a Christian group in the UK said “turning gay” had not done Daley any good. Rowling called out the “offensive” tweet for being stupid and spiteful.