Publishing house Hachette UK said it’s “proud” to publish J.K. Rowling’s latest children’s novel, despite the author’s controversial and transphobic comments on gender identity. Many believe Rowling’s comments to be damaging and dangerous, including actors from the Harry Potter films.
Hachette UK’s statement came after reports that staff members at the publishing house said they would no longer work on publishing Rowling’s novel, The Ickabog, because of the recent controversy. Some reports indicated that staff members were ready to shut down publication tools in protest. The complaints came from “between four and five employees,” according to The Bookseller.
“Staff in the children’s department at Hachette announced they were no longer prepared to work on the book,” an anonymous source told the Daily Mail.
Hachette cited freedom of speech in its response.
Read the statement here:
We are proud to publish J K Rowling’s children’s fairytale The Ickabog.
Freedom of speech is the cornerstone of publishing. We fundamentally believe that everyone has the right to express their own thoughts and beliefs. That’s why we never comment on our authors’ personal views and we respect our employees’ right to hold a different view.
We will never make our employees work on a book whose content they find upsetting for personal reasons, but we draw a distinction between that and refusing to work on a book because they disagree with an author’s views outside their writing, which runs contrary to our belief in free speech.
The Ickabog is Rowling’s first children’s novel after Harry Potter. It’s currently being published online with a new chapter posted every weekday. Hachette is set to print copies of the novel later this fall.