J.K. Rowling is not worthy of your trust

Feb 3, 2018 | The Publishing Industry


J.K. Rowling is the most powerful author in the world, because she created the most profitable intellectual property of the last decade. It has made her a multi-millionaire and launched her career into the stratosphere, spread to many other mediums and merchandising and all that good stuff, and it’s beloved across the world. (We should all hope to be so successful!)
She is also not to be trusted. Not with your hopes, and not with your heart.

The problem, really, is that Rowling has dropped the ball when it comes to being a responsible author. Remember when she appropriated Native stories about skinwalkers? Remember that shit? I do. I remember her response as well. She treated it like it was no big deal and that, my friends, is Not On.

In the words of Dr. Adrienne Keane, someone far more qualified to comment on this stuff than I:

…it’s not ‘your’ world. It’s our (real) Native world. And skinwalker stories have context, roots, and reality … You can’t just claim and take a living tradition of a marginalised people. That’s straight up colonialism/appropriation.

Yeah. There is a big problem when non-Native people take what they want from Native culture and twist it for the sake of a story. Responsible authors don’t do this because it’s fucking asinine and labels someone as being an ignorant dipshit who did not do their research or talk to Native people. You don’t do this to a culture that’s already been broken, battered, partly erased, and used to discriminate against Native people.

You just don’t.

For the record, this is the reason why Christianity in general is fair game. Christianity is a dominant world religion and a major force in many of the most powerful countries in the world. We can write all the stories about demons and angels that we feel like. Context always matters when it comes to cultural appropriation.

So, I unfollowed J.K. Rowling a while back because of this, and the whole “keeping Johnny Depp on even though he’s an abusive shithead and you are literally the only author who could demand to have him removed and have the studio take you seriously” thing. As far as I’m concerned, any author who pulls this kind of nonsense can’t be trusted and it was only a matter of time before she screwed up again. And lo, here we are.

She said that Dumbledore was canonically gay, and him and Grindelwald were totally into each other. So we were going to see this, right? In Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald? Because that seems like a major plot point and hella important for character development because Grindelwald was a Dark wizard and all that?

If we were, then I wouldn’t be writing this article.

The director, David Yates, said that the sexuality of Dumbledore would not be explicitly explored in FB2, and:

But I think all the fans are aware of that … He had a very intense relationship with Grindelwald when they were young men. They fell in love with each other’s ideas, and ideology and each other.

J.K. Rowling has responded to criticism by dismissing it all as trolling. She’s deflected by saying that gay people just look like people, no need to bring it up.

She was given every possible cookie for saying that Dumbledore was gay, even though it was never referenced in the books and even though NO OTHER LGBT CHARACTERS show up in Harry Potter. She wrote the screenplay for FB2, and even if she hadn’t, she is still J.K. Rowling and her control over her intellectual property gives her unimaginable power. She could have written in proper LGBT representation, and told the studio to suck it up and deal if they had an issue with it.

She didn’t. She just whined and dismissed and deflected, and the director spun some bullshit like somehow gay relationships aren’t worthy of being passionate, or – gasp! – sexual.

You spineless fucking cowards.

It’s 2018, for gods’ sake. I don’t know what the hell else to say. I’ve got no time for someone with that much power who not only won’t use it to push to minority representation, but also dismisses anyone who speaks up. What good is J.K. Rowling if she won’t go to bat for the powerless?

Responsible authors listen to their fans. Responsible authors pay attention when they’re called out. If I had been in her position (which is not bloody likely, because I will never retroactively make a character gay just to drum up publicity), I would have simply said “Trust me. I’m going somewhere with this. There will be a payoff – not in this movie, but definitely in the next one. I’m working on it already. Just please, please, trust me.”

What J.K. Rowling’s fans desperately want is to trust her. Trust that she’s not playing with their emotions. Trust that she didn’t, in fact, toss out this tidbit about Dumbledore being gay just for some headlines. Trust that she will actually write him like the gay character she’s claimed him to be.

Well, she’s shown that she’s not worthy of that trust. She won’t flex her power for their sake. It’s shameful, and disappointing, and it is what it is.

Pin your hopes on authors who listen, because she’s officially ignoring you.