JK Rowling Suing People Who Categorize Her as a Holocaust Denier

JK Rowling reading to children at the White House in 2010
JK Rowling reading to children at the White House in 2010, Public Domain.

Back in March, JK Rowling indicated that she didn’t believe the Nazis persecuted trans people by burning sex-based research, essentially denying part of the Holocaust.  Now she’s threatening people with litigation who have categorized it accordingly.

On March 13th, 2024 someone Tweeted at JK Rowling informing her that the Nazis burned books on trans healthcare and research.  They asked her why she was ‘so desperate to uphold their ideology around gender?’  She responded “I just… how? How did you type this out and press send without thinking ‘I should maybe check my source for this, because it might’ve been a fever dream’?” 

This is blatantly denying the premise of the original tweet, which was about persecution during the Holocaust.  So she is, using the definitions of the individual words, participating in Holocaust denialism.

To be clear, nobody is saying that JK Rowling is denying that the Holocaust happened.  In fact, an argument can be made that the current definition of “Holocaust denialism” refers specifically to “[attempts] to deny the genocide of the Jews is an effort to exonerate National Socialism and antisemitism from guilt or responsibility in the genocide of the Jewish people,” so by focusing her bigotry on trans people instead, it can’t be categorized as such.  Sure.  Fine.  I’ll concede that the narrower definition of the phrase doesn’t fit what she said.

However, the phrase “Holocaust distortion” is a bit more broad.  The same source I used to pull the definition of denialism above includes the following bullet points for the definition of “Holocaust distortion” (bolding added for emphasis):

  1. Intentional efforts to excuse or minimize the impact of the Holocaust or its principal elements, including collaborators and allies of Nazi Germany;
  2. Gross minimization of the number of the victims of the Holocaust in contradiction to reliable sources;

Burning books related to specific topics, such as transgender people and sexuality-related research, certainly minimizes the impacts and principle elements of the event. The Institute of Sexology was thoroughly looted. This act also destroyed research regarding homosexuality and the equality of women.  This event happened, and she’s minimizing it and the impact of all the research that was lost during these events.

Additionally, trans people were indisputably victims of the Holocaust.  Trans people were often forced to de-transition, as well as being sent to concentration camps right alongside other members of the LGBTQ+ community, Jewish people, Romani, people with disabilities, and so many other marginalized groups.  As such, they were also executed.  This means they were victims, and she’s minimizing them as such.  Which means she’s minimizing the number of victims in contradiction to reliable sources, as per the definition of Holocaust distortion.

She even pointed to a thread that seems to imply that the Nazis were somehow okay with trans people (or, at least, not anti-trans), which is an incredible distortion of the facts.  This part is what offended me the most, personally.  She’s not just claiming trans people weren’t victims, but implying that Nazis didn’t group them together with other marginalized groups and would thus be including them as an acceptable part of their bigoted ideology. Your reading of that thread may differ from mine, but that’s what I got from it, and it churns my stomach.

So in short, if we’re wanting to use the more pointed definition of Holocaust denialism, which focuses on the genocide of Jewish people specifically, and not the more broad definition of the words alone, perhaps you can make the argument that she isn’t a Holocaust denier.  However, if using the more broad definition, she is a holocaust denier as she denies key facts about the horrific historical event.  At the very least, she’s a holocaust distorter, and that definition is clearly defined and indisputable. 

But moving beyond the quibbles about word definitions, this accusation has made her so angry she’s suing people for it.  She’s consequently strongarming people into removing their online commentary that categorizes her as a Holocaust denier.  British journalist Rivkah Brown was forced to take down a Tweet saying that, and Tweeted out “That allegation was false and offensive. I have deleted it and apologize to JK Rowling.” 

Rivkah Brown stated in an email that she didn’t have the resources to fight back against possible litigation, which is understandable.  If we got sued, we’d probably have to do the same.  Thankfully, however, it’s a lot more difficult to sue people for such things in the country that this website is based (the United States), and I’ve made it very clear what definitions of words I’m using here.  We’re also a pretty tiny website, so the chances of her seeing this article are infinitesimally small. So I’m not too terribly concerned she’ll be sending her lawyers after us.  That said, archive this post just in case we have to issue a retraction.  Or hook us up with a pro-bono attorney.  Either one would be swell!

In reaction to this incident, “JK Rowling is a Holocaust denier” trended on Twitter (currently known as X).  People – particularly Americans which, as I stated earlier, are a bit better protected in this regard – are having a great time posting about it.  Not only are people beyond the borders of the UK better protected legally, but the volume of people accusing her is so great that she can’t conceivably go after each and every one of them.  She may go after a few (not us, hopefully?), but most people should be able to say it without repercussions.

These accusations aren’t even people just saying random things.  She has a long history of targeting trans people, and made comments that can easily be categorized exactly as they are being phrased, as I diligently outlined above.  But she’s mad as heck and Streisand Effecting the whole situation.  Now way more people are saying it than there were initially.  In fact, even more outlandish things are being claimed, much of which doesn’t have evidential backing like this claim does.  Articles are being written about it.  Mainstream journalists are digging into it.  And it’s all because she wanted to strongarm a journalist into removing a Tweet.

I wish she’d just take her billions and go away.  The harm she’s caused has been enormous, but she just keeps going.  Can you just leave us alone, Jo?  We’re tired.  Cover your bed with wads of cash and go take a nap.

Author: Angel Wilson

Angel is the admin of The Geekiary and a geek culture commentator. They earned a BA in Film & Digital Media from UC Santa Cruz. They have contributed to various podcasts and webcasts including An Englishman in San Diego, Free to Be Radio, and Genre TV for All. They identify as queer.

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