Even as the stars of her movies have said expelliarmus to J.K. Rowling after her latest run of anti-transgender comments, Rowling’s publisher is standing by her. Hachette U.K., publisher of Rowling’s upcoming children’s book The Ickabog, said in a statement that it was “proud” to publish Rowling’s book, according to The Bookseller. “We fundamentally believe that everyone has the right to express their own thoughts and beliefs. That’s why we never comment on our authors’ personal views and we respect our employees’ right to hold a different view,” the statement said. “We will never make our employees work on a book whose content they find upsetting for personal reasons, but we draw a distinction between that and refusing to work on a book because they disagree with an author’s views outside their writing, which runs contrary to our belief in free speech.” It comes after a June 15 Hachette U.K. meeting in which multiple employees reportedly said “they were no longer prepared to work on the book,” according to a Daily Mail source. Both the Mail and Bookseller reported that employees may shut down publishing tools to halt progress on The Ickabog. Managers are currently talking to these employees, according to The Bookseller.
In a lengthy blog defending her anti-transgender views, Rowling explained that she returned to Twitter in the first place — which she’d quieted down on after being previously criticized for anti-trans views last year — to promote The Ickabog, part of which she already released online for free because of the coronavirus pandemic. She entered her current controversy after proclaiming her commitment to biological sex and criticizing the term “people who menstruate.” It’s not the first instance of Hachette employees standing against a controversial author, either, after U.S. employees walked out earlier this year when the group acquired Woody Allen’s memoir, leading Hachette Book Group to cancel the book’s publication.