JK Rowling leads 150 artists in attack on 'cancel culture'

JK Rowling leads 150 artists in attack on 'cancel culture'
JK Rowling leads 150 artists in attack on 'cancel culture'

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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - The Harry Potter author JK Rowling is among a group of 150 leading writers and academics who have signed a letter denouncing so-called cancel culture.

The letter, also signed by the authors Salman Rushdie and Margaret Atwood, condemns “a vogue for public shaming and ostracism” and “a blinding moral certainty”.

Cancel culture refers to online condemnation and shaming of people who cause offence.

Published in Harper’s Magazine, it stated: “The free exchange of information and ideas, the lifeblood of a liberal society, is daily becoming more constricted.”

The Russian chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov, the American intellectual Noam Chomsky, feminist Gloria Steinem, and author Malcolm Gladwell also put their names to the document.

JK Rowling was recently the victim of a vicious online campaign after she was attacked on social media over comments about her history as a victim of abuse.

“It is now all too common to hear calls for swift and severe retribution in response to perceived transgressions of speech and thought,” the letter stated.

“As writers we need a culture that leaves us room for experimentation, risk-taking, and even mistakes. We need to preserve the possibility of good-faith disagreement without dire professional consequences.”

The document also decries “disproportionate punishments” given to targets of cancel culture by people attempting “panicked damage control”.

It added: “The forces of illiberalism are gaining strength throughout the world and have a powerful ally in Donald , who represents a real threat to democracy.”

The letter stated that cancel culture had spread fear through arts and media.

Within hours of the letter appearing on social media, a number of the signatories immediately withdrew their names including the historian Kerri Greenidge and Jennifer Finney Boylan, who tweeted: “I did not know who else had signed that letter. I thought I was endorsing a well-meaning, if vague, message against internet shaming. I am so sorry.”

Updated: July 8, 2020 12:59 PM

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