Scottish Charity Twitter account calls J K Rowling a “bitch”

This morning it was announced that Harry Potter author J K Rowling had given £1 million to the campaign to keep Scotland in the UK. That’s her perfect right in exactly the same way as it’s the perfect right of Christine and Colin Weir to give their lottery winnings to the Yes campaign. Believe me, if I won millions on the lottery, the Liberal Democrats would be getting a fair chunk of it as would my favourite charities. I’d want to use it to make the world a better place.

She gave her reasons in a characteristically honest and well-crafted piece that even mentions death-eaters. My favourite bit is:

Some of the most pro-independence people I know think that Scotland need not be afraid of going it alone, because it will excel no matter what.  This romantic outlook strikes a chord with me, because I happen to think that this country is exceptional, too.  Scotland has punched above its weight in just about every field of endeavour you care to mention, pouring out world-class scientists, statesmen, economists, philanthropists, sportsmen, writers, musicians and indeed Westminster Prime Ministers in quantities you would expect from a far larger country.

My hesitance at embracing independence has nothing to do with lack of belief in Scotland’s remarkable people or its achievements.  The simple truth is that Scotland is subject to the same twenty-first century pressures as the rest of the world.  It must compete in the same global markets, defend itself from the same threats and navigate what still feels like a fragile economic recovery.   The more I listen to the Yes campaign, the more I worry about its minimisation and even denial of risks.

Whenever the big issues are raised – our heavy reliance on oil revenue if we become independent, what currency we’ll use, whether we’ll get back into the EU – reasonable questions are drowned out by accusations of ‘scaremongering.’  Meanwhile, dramatically differing figures and predictions are being slapped in front of us by both campaigns, so that it becomes difficult to know what to believe.

Since the announcement was made, predictably, Jo has come in for some horribly misogynistic abuse on Twitter. To be fair, some people out there have an issue with any woman having an opinion and Nicola Sturgeon has had some nasty stuff sent in her direction too, so it’s a problem for us all. Sadly, it’s par for the course.

Then a friend of mine from south of the Border shared a Tweet calling Jo a bitch. He pointed out the irony of this coming from The Dignity Project.

The Dignity Project

My curiosity got the better of me and I wondered what the Dignity Project was. It’s actually a charity raising money for education and child care in Africa. According to Scotland’s charity regulator, it’s still active. Apparently another of it’s aims is to:

The advancement of the Christian religion in Africa by furthering the work of God and particularly by teaching the aforementioned children Christianity and Christian Beliefs

None of this is consistent with the tweet that came from it today. This could be a hack. It could be a #epicfail in the Tweetdeck department. Whoever did it wouldn’t have been the first person to tweet from the wrong account.

We need an explanation, though, and an apology, because something like this is sufficient to cause huge reputational damage to an organisation which is trying to do some good. Its Facebook page indicates that it’s struggling for support at the moment. This act might just have killed it off.

About caronlindsay

Scottish Lib Dem internationalist, mum, LGBT+ ally, Doctor Who, Strictly, F1 and trashy tv addict and blogger. Servant to two spaniels. She/her.
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1 Response to Scottish Charity Twitter account calls J K Rowling a “bitch”

  1. Ian Smith says:

    Caron –

    I like J.K. Rowling and, although I support Scottish independence, I respect her right to donate a million pounds to the Better Together campaign. In fact, given her longstanding support for the Labour Party and her friendship with Gordon Brown, I am only surprised that she didn’t make this donation earlier. I am also horrified that some extremist, knuckle-dragging bampots with pro-independence beliefs should take to twitter and abuse her – such tweets are abhorrent and the people who sent them are abhorrent too.

    However, I would like to make a couple of remarks.

    Firstly, if you had checked one of the offensive anti-Rowling comments you retweeted, you would have found that the perpetrator was actually an Irish guy, with strong Irish republican (and pro-Palestinian) sympathies, who lives in England. So the question you asked about this particular comment – ‘Is this the sort of Scotland we want?’ – is a bit redundant. Also, when the Daily Record tracked down another person who’d sent offensive tweets about Rowling, he claimed not to have political views one way or the other in the referendum debate and described himself as a ‘wind-up merchant’ (though I would describe him as an ‘arsehole’). The insinuation made by the mainstream media and by people like yourself involved in the pro-Union political parties that all the abuse aimed at J.K. Rowling came from SNP and pro-Scottish-independence supporters does not hold up. No doubt some or a lot of it did – and I am ashamed of that – but not all of it.

    (I would add that, from the many years I have spent living in Scotland, I have heard plenty of racist anti-English abuse emanating from people who happily vote Labour or Conservative at general elections and will, like yourself, be voting ‘No’ in September. Again, the simplistic equation of all anti-Englishness in Scotland with SNP and pro-independence supporters, which has been heavily pushed by the mainstream media and the Unionist parties recently, is inaccurate and unfair.)

    Also, I have looked at some the twitter abuse flying around Scotland during the past few days, since the news of J.K. Rowling’s donation broke. Here are a few of the misogynist insults I have read:

    “…that bitch…”
    “…beat it ya ugly cow…”
    “…why don’t you fuck off? That way you might start being a credit to your country.”
    “…up your hairy arse.”
    “…does ma tits in, get off the fucking tv ya slut!”
    “…what a bitter wee wummin she is. Typical… selfish boot. Begone bitch!”

    However, none of these comments were actually made about J.K. Rowling. They were directed at Nicola Sturgeon, by supporters of the Union. It doesn’t surprise me that she gets this abuse – and there is a vast amount more aimed at Alex Salmond – considering that the No campaign has the support of unsavoury outfits like the Scottish Defence League, the British National Party and the Scottish Orange Order, some of whose members are very creepy indeed. However, the mainstream Scottish media, and pro-Union politicians, seem happy to play down this abuse because it goes against the narrative they have been pushing in their campaign against independence – that Scottish cyberspace is infested with nasty cybernats attacking and bullying nice, peaceful Unionists and that’s the only online bile there is.

    Finally, returning to J.K. Rowling, you seemed pleased that the message that accompanied her donation ‘mentions death-eaters’. In fact, she wrote about a “a fringe of nationalists who like to demonise anyone who is not blindly and unquestionably pro-independence and I suspect, notwithstanding the fact that I’ve lived in Scotland for twenty-one years and plan to remain here for the rest of my life, that they might judge me ‘insufficiently’ Scottish to have a valid view… However, when people try to make this debate about the purity of your lineage, things start getting a little Death Eaterish for my taste.” In other words, after this, she expected to get abuse from certain pro-independence people, who are presumably anti-English, and such people put her in mind of the evil cult of wizards in her Harry Potter novels, led by Lord Voldemort, who promote the purity of the wizard race and despise other breeds like humans (‘muggles’) and half-human / half-wizard people (‘mudbloods’).

    After the trouble Rowling had with the Daily Mail last year, who distorted something she’d written about the Scottish church where she’d worked part-time while a single mother, and made it look like she was having a go at the church’s whole congregation, I’d have thought she would have chosen her words here more carefully. I support independence because I feel that people in Scotland – whether they’re Scottish, English, Pakistani, Polish, Chinese or whatever – ought to run their own country, rather than have unrepresentative Conservative (or Con-Lib-Dem) or warmongering Nu-Labour governments foisted upon them from London. I do not much like being likened to some evil fictional characters who are obsessed with racial purity. Rowling was only talking about a ‘fringe’, of course, but she must have known the media was going to distort what she said, and apply her Death Eater comment to a wider range of people.

    Sure enough, the other day, the main web-page of The Independent contained the headline J.K. ROWLING CALLS SCOTTISH NATIONALISTS ‘DEATH EATERS’. And a recent sub-heading in the Daily Telegraph began, AFTER J.K. ROWLING COMPARED SCOTTISH NATIONALISTS TO DEATH EATERS… Obviously, none of this lowered the temperature of the subsequent debate and I feel she was rather naïve if she thought the press was going to quote her Death Eater comment in the context she had intended.

    Still, as I said, I respect her right to donate her money to whoever she wants. And I am pleased that she has expressed a determination to remain in Scotland whatever the result in September.


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