J.K. Rowling Goes to (Twitter) War


When a UK politician called J.K. Rowling a misogynist on Twitter, the author didn’t take it lying down. She went to war to defend her good name–and won.

This seems to be the week for Twitter War. First Kanye who makes performance art of such things had a highly publicized spat with his ex Amber Rose and Wiz Khalifa, which abruptly ended when Kanye deleted everything. Meanwhile, another rapper, B.o.B., decided to convince the public the world was flat, causing a spat with renown coolest astrophysicist on the planet, Neil deGrasse Tyson, which abruptly ended when NdGT went on television and demonstrated the effects of gravity upon the acoustic-to-electric transducer. (B.o.B.’s publicist probably would really like a wish right now.)

But just when Twitter thought it had seen enough excitement for one week, things took a turn for the worst, as a rather foolish Scottish National Party MP named Natalie McGarry, who was already suspended from Parliament for ten of thousands of pounds of missing donations to her women’s right’s group Women for Independence, decided to compound her publicity problems by going after Rowling on her Twitter feed.

As someone not steeped in the UK political scene, I picture Natalie McGarry as a Harriet-Jones-Lifelong-Backbencher type who just accidentally stepped in the largest mess she could possibly have created for herself. Now, Good Old J.K. could have probably taken the old girl down with a well placed “Don’t You Think She Looks Tired?” in the right person’s ear. But as this was Twitter, which is Rowling’s turf, she wasn’t about to let it slide.

As it was noted, that was probably not the wisest thing for McGarry to have done.

McGarry has attempted to protect her tweets in the aftermath, but like Kanye, she seems to have forgotten the internet is forever.

McGarry provided her “evidence, which was a single tweet of someone who Rowling had recently thanked for supporting Lumos. We won’t publish it here due to language, but if you must read it, click here. For the record, the gentleman in question is one who regularly posts angry and ugly things about the Scottish National Party.

Exactly. Unfortunately, McGarry kept digging.

By that time all of Rowling’s followers had descended on the foolish MP, who has now locked her Twitter account (Hence the screen shots of her replies.) But it went on like this for hours. McGarry at one point attempted to apologize, then claimed she was getting on a plane and ending the conversation. But then decided to continue anyway, defending her position. The worst part was when McGarry started posting what we clearly doctored screen shots designed to bolster her argument when it became clear she was losing the fight.

McGarry also began to scream, of being bullied, as if Rowling’s followers had been commanded to attack her, instead of rising up like their own version of Dumbledore’s Army to fight back on her behalf. She began to claim that Rowling’s single interaction with the gentleman in question proved she was supportive of him, which, as Rowling pointed out has serious implication for every politician on Twitter everywhere.

McGarry, having failed to apologize now, and having dug herself well in, was in for it.

Meanwhile, as a side note, the gentleman in question did issue an apologize for his own tweets that were so offensive, and announced he would be donating personally to Lumos, proving that at least some people understand when they’ve crossed a line.

As of this writing, McGarry has still not publicly apologized for the spat. We’ll see if the brawl continues, or if Rowling will just move on. But just remember the ancient poem:

“Demons run when a good author goes to war
Night will fall and drown the sun
When a good author goes to war

Friendship dies and true love lies
Night will fall and the dark will rise
When a good author goes to war”

-Steven Moffat