JK Rowling criticizes ‘cancel culture’ in Harper magazine open letter

“Harry Potter” author J.K. Rowling

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J.K. Rowling has joined 150 authors and academics in denouncing the so-called “cancel culture,” which refers to the online shaming of individuals who have done or said something that angry social media users consider objectionable or offensive.

The world-famous author of the “Harry Potter” series signed an open letter warning of an “intolerant climate” for free speech. The letter was published by Harper’s Magazine on Tuesday.

The signatories welcomed the “needed reckoning” on racial and social justice but argue that it has “intensified a new set of moral attitudes and political commitments that tend to weaken our norms of open debate.”

Other signatories include Russian chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov, cognitive scientist Noam Chomsky, and novelist Salman Rushdie.

“The free exchange of information and ideas, the lifeblood of a liberal society, is daily becoming more constricted,” they say.

“While we have come to expect this on the radical right, censoriousness is also spreading more widely in our culture: an intolerance of opposing views, a vogue for public shaming and ostracism, and the tendency to dissolve complex policy issues in a blinding moral certainty.”

They go on to say President Donald Trump is a “real threat to democracy” but argue that “resistance must not be allowed to harden into its own brand of dogma or coercion.”

The fact that J.K. Rowling’s name is among the signatories perhaps isn’t that surprising. The British writer was recently attacked on social media for making comments that offended some transgender people. 

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