A New Podcast Promises a “Two-Sided” Conversation with JK Rowling. There’s Just One Problem…

JK Rowling is participating in a podcast with the granddaughter of the Westboro Baptist Church founder. Titled The Witch Trials of JK Rowling, the podcast is being billed as an impartial, “two-sided conversation” on Rowling’s transphobia.

Founded by Fred Phelps, the Westboro Baptist Church is one of the US’s most notorious hate groups, known for the slogan “God Hates F*gs” and for picketing the funerals of AIDS and suicide victims. Phelps’ granddaughter, Megan Phelps-Roper, was raised in a compound with other members and ultimately became a spokesperson for the church. In 2012, she joined Twitter to bring the ministry online but found her arguments easily dismantled by other users, to the point that she experienced a loss of faith.

The story of how she left the church (and of how Twitter played a role in deradicalization, for once) became the stuff of legend. Phelps-Roper went on to advocate against the church and published a memoir of her transformation, Unfollow: A Journey from Hatred to Hope.

One person who read that book was JK Rowling, and it was why she agreed to an interview to once again express her views. Following the announcement on February 14, Phelps-Roper has stressed that the conversation is unbiased. At the same time, the podcast is being produced under Bari Weiss’ The Free Press. Weiss is also known for founding a “university” with a faculty of supposed cancel culture victims (read: transphobes.)

In her essay accompanying the announcement, Phelps-Roper describes Rowling as an author comparable to God in her literary influence and as “a kind of saint.” While this is intended to set up a fall-from-grace narrative, she goes on to characterize Rowling as someone who “refused to back down.” To clarify, the people she refused to back down from are a vulnerable minority whom she has tarred as sexual predators. And once again, there’s the simple fact that the podcast seems to consist of two cis women centering themselves in a discussion of trans people.

Suffice it to say, the internet was not having it.

Meanwhile on Monday, Rowling used her legal team to bully a random Twitter user for daring to criticize her harmful rhetoric. Look forward to more exhausting tirades on why the billionaire author is the real victim when the podcast begins on February 21.

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