The last few years have seen an escalation of bullying of female authors both inside and outside publishing in the UK. Rachel Rooney and Gillian Phillips in particular have suffered severe personal and professional harm because they dared challenge a fashionable ideology which has been remarkably successful in demonising those who protest against the current attack on women’s rights.
On Saturday, Joanne Harris, Chair of the Society of Author’s Management Committee, responded to a Twitter user who asked whether she had ‘expressed sympathy to JK Rowling’, ‘yes, and to everyone in a similar position.’ I was startled to read this, as I’ve received no communication whatsoever from Harris expressing sympathy for the death and rape threats I’ve received. I was less surprised to learn that Katharine Quarmby urged the society to condemn these threats in 2020 and 2021 and nothing was done.
Harris has consistently failed to criticise tactics designed to silence and intimidate women who fail to support her personal position on gender identity ideology and has said publicly, ‘Cancel isn’t a dirty word. We habitually cancel things we no longer want’. I find it impossible to square the Society’s stated position on freedom of speech with Harris’s public statements over the past two years and stand in solidarity with all female writers in the UK who currently feel betrayed by their professional body and its leader.
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