BBC Apologizes for False Report on J.K. Rowling’s Transgender Comments

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 29: JK Rowling attends the World Premiere of "Fantastic Beast
Dave J Hogan/Getty Images

The BBC has issued an apology for running a false report on Harry Potter novelist J.K. Rowling’s comments about transgenders, admitting that its reporting was “inaccurate” while also admonishing its journalists about the “importance of accuracy.”

In its original April 2 story, BBC Scotland reported that police declined to arrest Rowling for describing some transgender “women” as men. Apparently unhappy with the decision, the outlet erroneously claimed that the Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Act 2021 “makes it a criminal offence to make derogatory comments based on disability, religion, sexual orientation, transgender identity or being intersex.”

The original, uncorrected story can be read here.

It turns out that the BBC’s reporting about the act was false, as editors admitted in a correction issued this week.

“This was inaccurate and we should have referred to the Act creating a new crime where it is an offence if someone communicates material or behaves in a threatening or abusive manner with the intention of ‘stirring up hatred’ based on these protected characteristics,” the BBC said.

“We apologise for any confusion caused and have reminded our teams of the importance of accuracy in our output.”

This represents the third time the BBC has apologized for its coverage of Rowling and her views on transgenders, according to a Deadline report.

Last year, the BBC apologized for calling Rowling “transphobic” on BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland show. The same year, the BBC apologized for failing to challenge a guest whose accused Rowling of pushing “transphobia” on Radio 4‘s “PM” show.

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