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Here's What Happened When J.K. Rowling Was Accused Of Misogyny

A row took place on Thursday night between the Harry Potter author and a Scottish MP.

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Ben A. Pruchnie / Getty Images

You may have noticed that J.K. Rowling was tweeting to a politician last night.

.@NatalieMcGarry I'd love an explanation of this accusation, Natalie.

Rowling appears to have been accused by a former SNP MP of defending online trolls.

It's unclear exactly what set off Natalie McGarry, the now independent MP for Glasgow East, but McGarry accused the Harry Potter author of backing a Twitter user called Brian Spanner.

Things escalated further and McGarry accused Rowling of being hypocritical.


But rather than giving evidence for exactly what Rowling had done, McGarry continued to insist it was "simple" and that Rowling supported a Twitter troll.

Rowling asked McGarry for evidence that she supported "misogynist trolling." That led to this conversation:


Eventually, McGarry sent a screenshot of this tweet to Rowling and said: "This guy, the one you chat regularly, nice guy."

An incredulous Rowling simply asked how the screenshot proved she supports misogyny.

.@NatalieMcGarry This screenshot proves that I support and defend misogyny and abuse... how?

In response, McGarry stated that Rowling had "tweeted very positive things about him" and that it was "up to me to call out".


Then this happened. *Shots fired*

.@NatalieMcGarry OK, Natalie. Guess we'll have to take this offline.

McGarry apologised. Rowling accepted it and told her Twitter followers who were "being less then polite" to stop.

But then McGarry started again and shared this screenshot that made it look as though Rowling responded to Spanner's crude tweet with "good man".

.@jk_rowling @NatalieMcGarry The accusation was that you engage with, defend and complement abusive trolls.

The problem was that Rowling's "good man" tweet was shown out of context. She said she had responded after Spanner had raised money for her charity, Lumos.

.@NatalieMcGarry *sighs* OK, Natalie, that's cut and pasted to suggest I said 'good man' to that tweet, not to fundraising for charity.

.@NatalieMcGarry This 'proof' is cut and pasted. I assume you want to retract the apology you made 3 mins ago?

After McGarry failed to delete the screenshot, Rowling threatened to sue.

.@NatalieMcGarry You don't appear to understand how Twitter or defamation works. I'm going to help you out with the latter.

It helps that Rowling has a "small island" of lawyers she could get help from.

.@NatalieMcGarry @JournoStephen Stephen exaggerates. A small island at most.

But now, if you go on McGarry's Twitter page, it's locked and only those who follow her can see her tweets.

On Friday morning, Alan Ferrier apologised for sending the screenshot McGarry had used. "It's clear that my tweet was misleading," he said.

.@alanferrier @lumos Both the apology and the donation are generous, Alan. Thank you.

Lesson: Don't mess with J.K.

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Siraj Datoo is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Siraj Datoo at

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