Hate Speech Controversy: Rowling Cleared Amidst Scotland’s Legal Battle

Harry Potter author, JK Rowling will face ‘no further action’ from Scottish Police over misgendering comments she made online. 

Rowling Issued a Challenge to Police to Arrest Her

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On Monday Scotland passed a hate crime law. Rowling went online and posted a thread in which she claimed that the new legislation was “wide open to abuse”.

Row Sparked Over Misgendering

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The complaints against the author were made when she called trans women activists  “men, every last one of them”.

Concerns of Threat to Free Speech Were Raised

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Rowling said that “freedom of speech and belief are at an end in Scotland if the accurate description of biological sex is deemed criminal”.

Police Response Was Clear

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By Tuesday afternoon, Police Scotland had issued a statement on the issue. They confirmed they had received complaints about Rowling’s post but added, “The comments are not assessed to be criminal and no further action will be taken.”

Victory for Common Sense

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Supporters online were seen to claim the approach to the matter by the police was a ‘victory for common sense. The overwhelming commentary on the social media platform around the issue was in support of Rowling. 

Rowling Responds

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Since learning about the decision not to take further action, Rowling said: “I hope every woman in Scotland who wishes to speak up for the reality and importance of biological sex will be reassured by this announcement, and I trust that all women – irrespective of profile or financial means – will be treated equally under the law.”

Rowling Not the Only High Profile Case

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On Monday, the area near Scottish First Minister, Humza Yousaf’s family home was targeted with racist graffiti. This crime has been recorded under the new act.

Yousaf Reminds Public of Importance of the Act

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Posting online, Yousaf said “I do my best to shield my children from the racism and Islamophobia I face on a regular basis. That becomes increasingly difficult when racist graffiti targeting me appears near our family home.”

Yousaf Defended the Legislation

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The new act has come under fire over concerns it could blunt freedom of speech and lead to heavy-handed policing. In response, Yousaf said that it “absolutely protects people in their freedom of expression.”

Claims Made That Hate Crimes Are on the Rise

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Yousaf also said that the act will guard “people from a rising tide of hatred that we’ve seen far too often in our society.”

Sunak Appears to Side With Rowling

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When asked about the Rowling case, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak stopped short of defending her outright, but said: “nobody should be criminalised for saying common sense things about biological sex.”

Charity Calls for Accuracy With Comments

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Robbie de Santos, director of campaigns and human rights at Stonewall Charity said “The Prime Minister and high profile commentators are simply incorrect when they suggest that misgendering or ‘stating facts on biology’ would be criminalised.” 

De Santos Feels Politicians Have a Responsibility to Communicate the Law

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He went on to say “This is no more true than stating that the existing law has criminalised the criticism of religion. This kind of misrepresentation about the act and its purpose only serves to trivialise the very real violence committed against us in the name of hate.”

Hate Crime Law Act Designed to Merge Existing Laws

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The Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Act 2021, it is now illegal to make derogatory comments about anyone based on their sex, race, age, disability, religious beliefs, transgender identity, being intersex or their sexual orientation.

Act Expanded to Include More Hate Crimes

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Prior to the new act, hatred on the basis of race and religion was considered more serious than abuse relating to sexual orientation, transgender identity, age and disability. Now, these have legal parity in Scottish law. 

Reports Say Police Have Received 3000 Complaints

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In the two days since the act was passed into law, reports suggest that Police Scotland have received over 3000 complaints under the new act alone. 

Transgender Policies Still New

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The reality is in legal and societal terms, misgendering and transgender offences are very new. Such issues take time to bed into a culture, and until they become more normalised in society attitudes and behaviours will likely shift.

Row Expected to Continue

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Activists on both sides are likely to continue to spar on the issue, so this won’t be put to bed just yet. Expect legal wranglings from both sides as this act beds in to society.

The post Hate Speech Controversy: Rowling Cleared Amidst Scotland’s Legal Battle first appeared on Swift Feed.

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