Complaint over JK Rowling ‘transphobic’ comment upheld

Complaint over JK Rowling ‘transphobic’ comment upheld


Updated / Wednesday, 14 Apr 2021 18:40

The BAI found the broadcast was not fair, and the comments about JK Rowling were not challenged by the presenter

The BAI found the broadcast was not fair, and the comments about JK Rowling were not challenged by the presenter

The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland has upheld a complaint about a remark made on a radio show which claimed that the novelist JK Rowling was transphobic.

The compliance committee of the BAI found that the broadcast was not fair, and the comments were not challenged by the presenter.

The remark was made on an edition of The Last Word with Matt Cooper on Today FM last September, during which tweets by Jedward were discussed.

The complainant said that, during a panel discussion, one of the contributors stated that JK Rowling was transphobic without providing any evidence to back this up, and that the statement was not challenged by the presenter or the other panelists.

In response, the broadcaster said the panel had been discussing tweets by Jedward in which they criticised celebrities for comments about Covid-19 and the wearing of masks.

The panel then mentioned that Jedward had also tweeted about JK Rowling, and her comments regarding transgender people.

The broadcaster said the panelist in question was of the opinion that JK Rowling exhibited some of the characteristics of transphobia, and that the panelist was entitled to that opinion.

However, the compliance committee of the BAI found that the presenter did not challenge the panel member, or facilitate the exploration of alternative viewpoints.

The committee said that, although the panel discussion was quite light hearted in nature, the committee did consider it was about a current affairs topic and was subject to the code of fairness, objectivity and impartiality in news and current affairs.

The committee said that given the seriousness of the statements and the lack of challenge by the presenter the broadcast was not fair, and the complaint was upheld.