J.K. Rowling reminded the world that free speech is a two-way street during a speech at the PEN America literary gala on Monday night.
Rowling, a British novelist, screenwriter and film producer best known as the author of the Harry Potter fantasy series, defended free speech and presumed Republican nominee Donald Trump’s right to be “offensive and bigoted.”
“Intolerance of alternative viewpoints is spreading to places that make me, a moderate and a liberal, most uncomfortable. Only last year we saw an online petition to ban Donald Trump from entry to the UK. It garnered half a million signatures,” she began.
She continued, and clarified that: “I find almost everything that Mr. Trump says objectionable. I consider him offensive and bigoted but he has my full support to come to my country and be offensive and bigoted there.”
However, she reminded the audience that: “His freedom to speak protects my freedom to call him a bigot. His freedom guarantees mine.”
“Unless we take that absolute position, without caveats or apologies, we have set foot upon a road with only one destination. If my offended feelings can justify a travel ban on Donald Trump, I have no moral grounds on which to argue that those offended by feminism or the fight for transgender rights, or universal suffrage, should not oppress campaigners for those causes.”
She concluded by warning: “If you seek the removal of freedoms from an opponent, simply on the grounds that they may have offended you, you have crossed a line to stand alongside tyrants who imprison, torture, and kill on exactly the same justification.”
You can watch her speech, below:
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