After a bizarre anti-trans rant some are saying it shows JK Rowling agree with Nazis that support for trans people is “degenerate, foolish, immoral and authoritarian”. She calls it their “we told you so” moment during her defense of Kellie-Jay Keen-Minshull.
The rant is going semi-viral across progressive Twitter spheres as everyone reacts to the unhinged stream of consciousness made possible entirely by a paid-for blue-check on Elon Musk’s Twitter. Going well beyond the 280 character limit, Rowling unleashed on The I’s Patrick Strudwick for apparently claiming that “a Let Women Speak event in Australia staged a mass Nazi salute”.
The actual quote from Strudwick is “In Melbourne this March, an anti-trans rally organised by British “gender critical” campaigner Kellie-Jay Keen staged a mass Nazi Salute.” Which has since been updated to read “In Melbourne this March, a group of far-right activists turned up to support an anti-trans rally organised by British “gender critical” campaigner Kellie Jay-Keen and staged a mass Nazi salute”.
The former is likely a libellous telling of events. It’s not untrue; ‘A rally’ is the group of people who show up in support of the cause you’re, in this case Kellie-Jay Keen, is organising around. Whether you invited them specifically or not! But it is phrased misleadingly enough that I agree with the edit. It was a separate group who organised and partook in the salute – Kellie-Jay Keen’s group just did nothing to stop the Nazis who came to support them. Some even got selfies in front of the Nazis!
Had Rowling’s rant stopped here I almost certainly would not be writing this piece. But it doesn’t, of course it doesn’t. It continues on for 3 more paragraphs, which leave us asking ‘Did JK Rowling agree with Nazis about trans people? – or as she calls us “gender ideologues” – and then subsequently try to liken the Nazis to trans people instead?’
Rowling writes “Nobody but useful idiots can be genuinely surprised that REAL fascists have spotted a glorious opportunity in trans activism. The homophobic anti-feminist far-right has long held that the left is degenerate, foolish, immoral and authoritarian and now they can point to the incoherent arguments of gender ideologues, the bullying tactics of the no-platformers and the swarms of masked men threatening violence against women for wanting to retain single-sex spaces, and crow ‘we told you so’.”
I can’t believe how quickly we went from “middle-aged moment” to “Did JK Rowling agree with Nazis?” but to my eyes that’s exactly what happened here. She’s saying that arguments made by “gender ideologues” ie trans people she believes to be incoherent are reasonable jusitifcation for the stated Nazi beliefs about the left being “degenerate” etc. Legally I can’t say she agrees with Nazis but morally I can’t lie to you and tell you I think she disagrees with them on this either.
The anti-trans rant continues; “Actual Nazis have turned up on the fringes of Let Women Speak events” and I’ll stop it right there because that’s just a lie. They haven’t turned up “on the fringes” as if it was by accident or just a wholesome little coincidence nobody could have seen coming. They have showed up and continue to show up because the organiser has repeatedly courted their attention.
Many of these events, such as the clip currently circulating on Twitter where Kellie-Jay Keen says “come on boys” in invitation to Nazis to join her rallies, have an air of ‘plausible deniability’ to them. She was just joking, of course she didn’t actually want Nazis at her event! Obviously! She was just trying to make fun of you all!
But that air of plausible deniability quickly evaporates when you take a look at some of the other instances. Such as the time she interviewed with JF Gariepy, a known White Nationalist. Or the time she interviewed with Carl Benjamin, a far right anti-feminist YouTuber. Or the time she worked with American conservative think-tank The Heritage Foundation. Or the time she tried to make “Right wing women are women” a thing. Or the time she said CPAC had paid for her tour’s insurance. Or the time she took a selfie with holocaust denier, Hans Lysglimt Johansen. Or the time she allowed someone to literally engage in Nazi propaganda and quote Mein Kampf on the mic at her event.
Even now transphobes are on Twitter attempting to push this plausible deniability to its limits by obsessing over the minute details of what’s being said. All of this courting of far-right attention to support Keen’s anti-trans activism and JK Rowling can still be found in the comments saying “SHOW ME THE RSVP!” as if it matters that this specific group of Nazis weren’t formally invited to this specific event.
Whether or not Kellie-Jay Keen specficially invited these specific Nazis to this specific event. The facts remain; she has been courting far-right attention for a very long time. It isn’t surprising that they showed up to support anti-trans activism, nor is it surprising that they showed up specifically in support of Kellie-Jay Keen’s event. To borrow some words from Rowling; this is a feature, not a bug.
“Actual Nazis have turned up on the fringes of Let Women Speak Events for exactly the same reason aggressive, narcissitic trans activists are there.” Which is blatantly untrue. The Nazis showed up in support of the event, the “gender ideologues” – such as LilahRPG who covered this event for us – were there to oppose the event.
“These groups closely resemble each other. Both are rife with misogynistic opportunists who’re using a clash of rights to push their own agendas, both are there in the hope of violence, and neither gives a damn about the women who’re there to speak out in their own voices, about their own lives, on their own behalf. It’s high time those peddling lies like Strudwick’s are held accountable and I sincerely hope @ThePosieParker takes action”.
Which is a very long way of saying “the Nazis I just seemed to agree with also agree with me but when you think about it they’re more like the people who oppose the thing both I and the Nazis believe”. Probably should have run this one by the editor before publishing it Jo.
The statement about hoping for violence rings especially ironic since again Kellie-Jay Keen has already come through for us to show the complete moral vapidity of Rowling’s position. This due to the fact that Keen once took to her YouTube livestreams in order to call for armed men to police women’s bathrooms in order to keep trans women out of them. I’m sure she’s hoping for a peaceful outcome, right Jo?
Kellie-Jay Keen has also hoped that women die in childbirth if they are transgender women and said that “women who call themselves men should be sterilised”. This alongside livestreaming herself doing things like showing up to people’s place of work and berating them for an audience. All of which I can only describe as violently transphobic and misogynist.
At some point you have to stop saying you would oppose violently misogynist and anti-trans narratives, that you’d march with us if we were under threat, and and that you oppose Nazis and right-wing politics. At some point you’ll have to reconcile with the fact the Kellie-Jay Keen has repeatedly courted the attention of right-wing extremism in support of her anti-trans activism, at some point you’ll have to oppose her if you truly mean what you say.
Otherwise; I guess get used to hearing the chant “JK Rowling you can’t hide, you’ve got Nazis on your side”.