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‘J.K. Rowling is my woman of the year’: Feminist fired for stance on trans rights

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‘J.K. Rowling is my woman of the year’: Feminist fired for stance on trans rights

On Thursday, Maya Forstater took to Twitter to make an important announcement. Noting that a journalist had said “JK Rowling is her woman of the year,” Forstater added: “Mine too. #IStandWithJKRowling.”

As Rowling prepares for the 20th anniversary of the movies based on her seminal book series, she is facing a wave of criticism — along with praise from feminists who see her as a folk hero crusading for their rights.

Forstater’s post was a callback to a December 2019 tweet in which the “Harry Potter” creator put her reputation and esteemed career on the line to defend Forstater, who had been let go from her job because of comments she made that a person cannot choose to change their biological sex.

“Dress however you please. Call yourself whatever you like. Sleep with any consenting adult who’ll have you. Live your best life in peace and security. But force women out of their jobs for stating that sex is real? #IStandWithMaya #ThisIsNotADrill,” Rowling tweeted to her then-14.5 million followers.

“I didn’t know that she was going to, it came out of the blue,” Forstater told The Post. “At first, I didn’t believe it was true. Somebody messaged a screenshot to me, but I thought they had made it to cheer me up.”

The day before Rowling’s tweet, a judge in the UK had decided that Forstater’s employer had the legal right to not renew her contract over the comments and that it was not a matter of discrimination against her.

This past week, Rowling tweeted in protest of Scottish police recording rapes as being carried out by a woman if the accused insists on this gender assignment, even if it has not been legally changed.
Rob Stothard/Getty Images

“I was gutted. I was the lowest I could be. But the tweet was so amazing …. It went completely all over the world.” Forstater said.

“And then the lies started spreading — saying I had harassed a colleague or misgendered a colleague. The truth is I didn’t have any trans colleagues,” Forstater said. “People just wanted to discredit what J.K. had said.”

Rowling was accused of being transphobic and a TERF — a scathing acronym that stands for “trans-exclusionary radical feminist.” Actors from the “Harry Potter” and “Fantastic Beasts” movies spoke out against her. Former fans took to social media to declare she had ruined their childhoods and that they were having “Potter” tattoos removed.

Through it all, though, Rowling — real name, Joanne Kathleen Rowling — has never backed down.

At Rowling's home, protests and demonstrations against her perceived transphobic twitter comments are common.
Rowling said she was doxxed by protesters who posted, then deleted, to social media a photo with her home address visible.
Lauren DeCicca/Getty Images

Last month, the author retaliated when comedian Holly Stars, actor Georgia Frost and drag star Richard Energy staged a demonstration in front of her home near Edinburgh, Scotland, and posted a now-deleted photo on Twitter with her home address visible in the background.

“I have to assume that [they] thought doxxing me would intimidate me out of speaking up for women’s sex-based rights,” Rowling tweeted. “They should have reflected on the fact that I’ve now received so many death threats I could paper the house with them, and I haven’t stopped speaking out.

“Perhaps — and I’m just throwing this out there — the best way to prove your movement isn’t a threat to women, is to stop stalking, harassing and threatening us.”

This all comes as HBO Max has just filmed a reunion special, airing Jan. 1, for the 20th anniversary of the first “Harry Potter” film. The main stars — whom Rowling helped cast — have spoken out against her comments.

Rumors about being scrapped from a Harry Potter reunion show are false, say an insider source.
Rumors about being scrapped from the HBO Max “Harry Potter” movie reunion show (above, with Rupert Grint, Emma Watson and Daniel Radcliffe) are false, said an insider.
HBO Max

In June 2020, Emma Watson tweeted: “Trans people are who they say they are and deserve to live their lives without being constantly questioned or told they aren’t who they say they are.” Daniel Radcliffe has written, “Transgender women are women,” adding, “Any statement to the contrary … goes against all advice given by professional health care associations who have far more expertise on this subject matter than either Jo [Rowling] or I.” And Rupert Grint told Esquire: “I think also you can have huge respect for someone and still disagree with things like that.”

Multiple sources told The Post that Rowling will appear in the reunion show – albeit in archive footage – despite rumors to the contrary.

While the author’s name was prominently featured near the beginning of the trailers for the first two films from her “Fantastic Beasts” book series, she’s been relegated to a very small production credit at the end of the new trailer for 2022’s “Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore.” Still, a source pooh-poohed the idea of it being a sign of backlash.

The stars of the Harry Potter series, whom Rowling helped cast, have spoken out against her.
The stars of the “Harry Potter” film series, whom Rowling helped cast, have spoken out against her views.
Warner Bros.

“Jo wasn’t scrapped from the reunion — she will feature,” said the well-placed insider. “There are no issues between her and Warner Brothers or HBO. Zero.”

Rowling was back in the headlines this week for another reason, too, as she responded to a move by the Scottish police force — which said it would record rapes as being carried out by a woman if the accused insists on this gender assignment, even if it has not been legally changed. The author used a twist on George Orwell’s “Newspeak” to tweet: “War is Peace. Freedom is Slavery. Ignorance is Strength. The penised individual who raped you is a woman.”

And while a Twitter army continues to drum up anti-Rowling sentiment, it hasn’t affected holiday sales.

Her new children’s book, “The Christmas Pig,” debuted at No. 1 and remains at the top of the New York Times bestseller list nine weeks later.

Despite Rowling’s controversies, her latest book, “The Christmas Pig,” is a top seller.
Neil Hall/EPA

Said the insider: “I’m delighted to tell you that sales have actually gone up during this crazy period and interest in all things Jo has never been greater.”

For the past two years, Forstater has been embroiled in a fight against her former employer, the Center for Global Development, a think tank in the UK. The 47-year-old mother of two — who is herself the daughter of “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” producer Mark Forstater — lost her job after expressing her views that a person’s biological sex cannot be changed and that transgender women are “not women” and sex is “not to be conflated with gender identity.”

Forstater’s 2018 tweets were in opposition to proposed reform of the UK’s Gender Recognition Act (GRA), which would allow trans people to self-identify without a medical confirmation.

“I was concerned and I thought I should be able to tweet about it. I wanted to be part of the public debate,” she told The Post. “Quite quickly, I got an email from [Center for Global Development] HR in DC saying they had concerns.”

Maya Forstater was fired from her job after tweeting about transgender issues.
Maya Forstater was honored that Rowling defended her after Forstater was fired from her job for tweeting that biological sex is immutable.
Paul Davey/SWNS

Roughly six months later, she lost her job after her employers carried out an investigation.

If not for Rowling, we may not know Forstater’s name. But once the author got involved, she was all in.

As for why, Rowling has explained in an essay that she was, at the time, writing a new series about a female detective — but hasn’t revealed how or if biological sex might come into play for the story.

And, as a survivor of domestic abuse and sexual assault, she said: “I want trans women to be safe. At the same time, I do not want to make natal girls and women less safe.”

Rowling was born to middle-class parents in Gloucestershire, England, but, after a brief marriage — her first husband told The Sun that he had once slapped her — that led to the birth of her daughter Jessica, now 28, found herself depressed and living in Scotland.

Despite death threats and bad press, Rowling says she will not stop speaking out.
Despite protests, death threats and bad press, Rowling continues to speak her mind.
Barcroft Media via Getty Images

“An exceptionally short-lived marriage had imploded, and I was jobless, a lone parent, and as poor as it is possible to be in modern Britain, without being homeless … By every usual standard, I was the biggest failure I knew,” she said during a 2008 Harvard commencement speech.

Forstater said this makes Rowling’s willingness to speak out all the more remarkable. “Although financially she’s made for life, she has so much to lose in terms of the industry and business. She has a charity and the Harry Potter industry, so it’s huge that she did this.”

That said, Rowling wishes more people would join her — but understands how hard it is.

“Accusations of TERFery have been sufficient to intimidate many people, institutions and organizations I once admired, who’re cowering before the tactics of the playground. ‘They’ll call us transphobic!’ ‘They’ll say I hate trans people!’ What next, they’ll say you’ve got fleas?” she wrote.

Kara Dansky is the Chair of the Committee on Law and Legislation for the Women’s Human Rights Campaign and says she's impressed with Rowling's bravery.
Attorney Kara Dansky is the chair of the Committee on Law and Legislation for the Women’s Human Rights Campaign and says she’s impressed by Rowling’s outspokenness.
karadansky.com

The term “TERF” is “typically used as a misogynistic slur, and is often accompanied by threats to murder and rape women who speak out about the material reality of biological sex,” said attorney Kara Dansky, the Chair of the Committee on Law and Legislation for the Women’s Human Rights Campaign.

“It also reveals how empty ‘gender identity’ ideology is. Our opponents never provide coherent arguments as to why they think we are wrong,” she added. “It is common for feminists to say something like, ‘A woman is an adult human female,’ and for someone to respond with something like ‘Shut up, TERF!’

“Once you’re smeared with the label, it’s hard to defend yourself against it.”

And that, activists say, is why it’s so important and remarkable that Rowling — one of the most beloved pop-culture icons of the past quarter century — is willing to stand up for what she believes in.

Rowling put her reputation and career on the line when she tweeted in support of Maya Forstater in 2019. Since then, her brand has strengthened.
Rowling put her reputation and career on the line when she tweeted in support of Maya Forstater in 2019. Since then, her brand has strengthened.
Tim Boyle/Getty Images

“The significance of what she has done cannot be understated,” said Dansky, who is also the president of the US chapter of WHRC. “Feminists demand the rights, privacy and safety of women and girls. We cannot do that if we cannot define that category coherently.”

Forstater agreed. “When I read JK’s essay, I thought, ‘She’s a national treasure. She’s written this essay that sets out everything so clearly and articulately.’ And the next day they called her a witch and wanted to burn her,” she told The Post. “I think she knew she would get this reaction and she kept doing it.”

****

Another reason for wading into the debate, Rowling wrote, was her concern about the “huge explosion” in young women experimenting with transitioning — as well as the growing number of those “detransitioning” back to their biological sex: “They regret taking steps that have, in some cases, altered their bodies irrevocably, and taken away their fertility.”

In June, The Post reported that The Human Rights Campaign listed more than 40 “clinical care programs for transgender and gender-expansive youth” on its Web site. Only one such institution existed in America in 2007.

In 2020, author Abigail K. Shrier wrote a controversial book that lead her to be bullied on social media and her book removed from Target.
In 2020, author Abigail K. Shrier wrote a controversial book, about the rise in young women transitioning, that lead her to be bullied on social media and her book removed from Target.
Andrea Cimini Photography

In her controversial 2020 book “Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters,” Abigail K. Shrier wrote how, as of 2018, Britain had seen a 4,400 percent rise from the previous decade in teen girls seeking treatments.

Like Rowling, Shrier found herself shouted down on social media, and her book was removed from Target.

In October, Dr. Marci Bowers and Erica Anderson, a clinical psychologist at the University of California, San Francisco’s Child and Adolescent Gender Clinic — both of whom are transgender — discussed the risks that come with gender reassignment surgery for children.

“I think there was naivete on the part of pediatric endocrinologists who were proponents of early [puberty] blockage, thinking that just this magic can happen, that surgeons can do anything,” said Bowers, who operated on transgender reality star Jazz Jennings.

“I don’t believe anyone who calls Jo out as transphobic actually read her long essay. I haven’t seen anyone quote from it to justify their accusations,” said the well-placed insider.

Rowling emphasizes the importance of speaking up against what's wrong, even though it may not be popular and scary.
Forstater believes that Rowling (above) “will be vindicated” in the future.

“I don’t believe anyone who calls Jo out as transphobic actually read her long essay. I haven’t seen anyone quote from it to justify their accusations. The most I’ve read is a line about bathrooms (Rowling stated that she had “concerns” around “single-sex spaces”) which again is something I suspect that the vast vast majority of woman feel too.

“This is important as I suspect that the hate she receives comes from the unfair criticisms that came initially from the three lead Harry Potter actors (who commented before her essay was published),”

In June, Forstater won her appeal against the original ruling, as a judge said the original tribunal had “erred in law,” adding that Forstater’s views “must be tolerated in a pluralist society.”

Now running her own organization, Sex Matters, Forstater will head back to court in March for the next hearing on her dismissal.

Rowling, she said, has “been so brave. Almost no one has spoken up for her … She must feel so betrayed. I think we all do — people who you know agree with you, but won’t speak up because it’s too dangerous and scary.

“I think people will turn around in years to come and say ‘Why didn’t we speak up?’ and J.K. Rowling will be vindicated.”

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Sports world reacts to John Madden’s death

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Sports world reacts to John Madden’s death

Legendary NFL coach and broadcaster John Madden died Tuesday morning at 85, the NFL announced. News of the football icon’s passing hit Twitter on Tuesday evening, and athletes, coaches and broadcasters from across the sports world reacted.

Fellow broadcasting legend Dick Vitale, who is currently battling cancer, called Madden “the greatest analyst of all time of any sport” in his Twitter tribute.

Former Yankees pitcher and notable Raiders fan CC Sabathia said “your legacy will live forever.” Madden coached the then-Oakland Raiders from 1969-78, a couple of years before Sabathia, a Vallejo, California native, was born. Lakers star LeBron James had similar words about Madden’s lasting legacy, adding an infinity emoji.

Former tennis star and social justice activist Billie Jean King recalled meeting Madden as a “privilege.”

Radio voice of the Rangers Kenny Albert, a five-sport broadcaster who’s been with FOX Sports since its inception in 1994, shared a photo circa 26 years ago to remember Madden.

ESPN’s Bomani Jones took a bit of a shot at current color commentators, noting that Madden “set an unreachable standard.”

Frank Caliendo, who’s made a career out of impersonations, including one for Madden, said he was surprised how emotional he felt.

Several football players, and others, including Saints running back Mark Ingram II and former Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant, credited Madden with being part of the reason why they love football.

Rams wide receiver and NFL MVP contender Cooper Kupp quote the late coach in his tribute: “The road to Easy Street goes through the sewer.”

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Miles McBride’s Knicks role will lessen with Kemba Walker’s resurgence

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Miles McBride’s Knicks role will lessen with Kemba Walker’s resurgence

MINNEAPOLIS — The Knicks got back another body in rookie point guard Miles McBride, who was cleared from protocols Tuesday and rejoined the team in Minnesota.

But there is no longer any hype for the rookie’s return. Kemba Walker is back as the starting point guard and coming off winning Eastern Conference Player of the Week honors with four standout games, including his Christmas Day spectacular. The Knicks have gone 2-2 since Walker regained the starting job.

“It’s great,’’ coach Tom Thibodeau said. “He had a great week. He’s playing great basketball. The team winning helps him get recognized and he was a big part of driving that winning. It’s great for the team.’’

McBride was also spectacular in his last outing before getting COVID-19, when he played the entire second half Dec. 16 in Houston and seemingly earned a spot in the rotation. In fact, McBride had strung together two decent outings before he was ruled out. But things have changed since his emergence and McBride is likely back to being a bit player.

Without a practice, McBride wasn’t even expected to see time when the Knicks faced the Timberwolves to kick off a four-game road trip.

Miles McBride
NBAE via Getty Images

Of course, with Walker’s arthritic knee, anything is possible. The Knicks play Detroit on Wednesday in a back-to-back, so it’s uncertain whether Walker will complete both contests. In addition, Immanuel Quickley is out of COVID-19 protocols but Thibodeau wasn’t sure he was ready for meaningful minutes.

That left Walker against the depleted Timberwolves, who were missing their three top players (Anthony Edwards, Karl-Anthony Towns, D’Angelo Russell), all because of COVID-19 .

Kemba Walker
Kemba Walker
USA TODAY Sports

When McBride got sidelined by the virus and Derrick Rose needed ankle surgery, Walker was resurrected by Thibodeau and it’s been a stunning comeback story.

Though Thibodeau has clear reservations about Walker based on his nine-game banishment due to his defensive malaise as an undersized point guard, he admitted after the Christmas Day triple-double against Atlanta that Walker is playing “much more aggressive.”

Walker’s triple-double that featured 10 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds was a lot different than his prior outing, when he scored 44 points against Washington.

“I thought his passing was terrific,’’ Thibodeau said before the Knicks resumed their schedule.

“Kemba had control of the game. The game tells you what to do. That’s what I loved about the way he played. I don’t think he forced anything. They puts size on him and were aggressive in their pick-and-roll coverage. He didn’t fight it. He attacked pressure the way you like to attack pressure. You don’t fight pressure with pressure. Don’t try to split it. Get rid of it, go to the backside. Let the game tell you what to do.’’

The Knicks coach is finally seeing all the elements of what Walker can do. Before his demotion, Walker was nothing more than a no-defense, 3-point shooter whose plus-minus was an abysmal minus-122.

Thibodeau was also concerned about his durability in sitting out two of the three back-to-back sets. The last load management game in Atlanta in late November triggered Thibodeau’s decision.

But now it’s only superlatives from Thibodeau in judging the last four games.

“Sometimes it’s going to be his shooting, sometimes it’s his penetration and getting in the paint to force a collapse and sometimes they’re being aggressive with their traps get rid of the ball quickly,’’ Thibodeau said. “The overall play, his rebounding. When your guards rebound, those are key to fast breaks. The more guard rebounding we get the better we can be. ‘’

The Knicks still have three players in protocols — centers Nerlens Noel and Jericho Sims and the newly infected Wayne Selden. Quickley and Kevin Knox were cleared on Christmas but were held out for conditioning.

No matter. The Knicks go as Kemba goes.

“He’s much more aggressive,’’ Thibodeau said. “That was the challenge. At the beginning of the year he and Evan were two new starters. Sometimes guys are trying to fit in. he’s being very aggressive which is the way we want him to play. Not deferring at all. When he and Julius [Randle] are aggressive like that our team is different.’’

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Bar raises dramatically for Zach Wilson in matchup with Tom Brady, Buccaneers

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Zach Wilson and Tom Brady

When Zach Wilson stares across the MetLife Stadium field at the opposite sideline this Sunday, it won’t be Trevor Lawrence he’ll be looking at as his game-day counterpart.

Lawrence, drafted by Jacksonville one spot before the Jets selected Wilson at No. 2 overall last April, is a contemporary.

This Sunday at MetLife, the Jets rookie quarterback won’t be staring at a contemporary on the other sideline. He’ll be staring at the GOAT.

Tom Brady.

The bar raises dramatically for Wilson and the Jets, who are coming off of their feel-good, get-well win over the woeful Jaguars and Lawrence this past Sunday.

Brady and Buccaneers, who are 11-4, NFC South division champions and seeking to repeat as Super Bowl champions, play the Jets, who are 4-11 and seeking more signs of development from their rookie quarterback.

To say this is a step up in competition for Wilson and the Jets going from Lawrence and the Jags to Brady and the Bucs is as obvious as pointing out that Tampa Bay receiver Antonio Brown has had a few off-the-field incidents during his otherwise stellar NFL career.

There hasn’t been a lot to keep the interest of the Jets fan this season — other than watching Wilson’s development. That took an unfortunate pause for the four games Wilson missed with a knee injury, but he’s been back for five games and has looked like a better quarterback, throwing only two interceptions in those games (none in the last three) since returning from his injury.

The problem, though, is that Wilson hasn’t been producing enough touchdowns, throwing for three of them and rushing for four others in the past five games.

Zach Wilson and Tom Brady
Zach Wilson and Tom Brady
N.Y. Post: Charles Wenzelberg; AP

Baby steps, though.

Wilson was the better quarterback this past Sunday when matched up with Lawrence, who threw for more yards than Wilson did, but Wilson ran for 91 yards, including his electric 52-yard scoring jaunt, and made key throws when he needed them.

Wilson will not win Sunday’s game against Brady and the Bucs throwing for the 102 yards he had against the Jaguars. He and the Jets will need more.

Consider this: Brady enters the game having thrown 37 TD passes and for 4,580 yards this season and averages a league-high 305.2 passing yards per game.

Then this: The Buccaneers average 29.5 points per game this season, second most in the NFL.

And this: Wilson doesn’t have a single 300-yard passing game, averages 183 passing yards per game and has thrown seven TD passes in 11 games.

Seven TD passes is a pedestrian two-game total for Brady.

Wilson and the Jets are playing with house money anyway in what always has been a developmental season, so Sunday against Brady should, at its very least, be a great measuring-stick learning experience for Wilson, who’s studied Brady on tape.

Wilson revealed this month that he watched film of Brady before the Jets played the Eagles on Dec. 5 in an effort to pick up tips on how Brady worked against the Eagles defense when he played them earlier in the season.

“I thought it was really cool to see kind of how he went through his whole process, how he navigated the pocket, different things like that,” Wilson said at the time.

On Sunday, Wilson gets to see that process up close as Brady tries to dissect a Jets defense that has yielded 29.9 points per game this season, the most in the NFL.

That puts an added onus on Wilson to produce on the other side of the ball, because he knows Brady is going to get his. Wilson will likely need to produce four TDs — any way he can — for the Jets to simply remain competitive with the Super Bowl champs.

That’s a lot to ask of a 22-year-old kid who’s produced just 11 TDs in his 11 starts, up against Brady, who’s thrown 618 TD passes and for 83,784 yards in his remarkable career.

It, too, is a lot to ask playing against an aggressive Tampa Bay defense that’s ranked No. 9 in the NFL in points allowed (20.8 per game) and is led by former Jets head coach Todd Bowles, who’d surely like to send a holiday message to his former employer.

If you don’t think Bowles will be blitzing the bejesus out of Wilson, then you probably think Antonio Brown is a living saint.

The good news for the Jets is that Wilson has shown incremental improvements, particularly when it comes to his decision-making and quicker releases on his throws.

“He’s coming along, he’s getting more comfortable, he’s calmer back there,’’ Jets coach Robert Saleh said Monday. “He’s in a great headspace and it’s going to be fun to watch him grow, continue to grow.’’

A big part of that growth will take place this Sunday as he watches the GOAT operate from the opposite sideline at MetLife.

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