JK Rowling: Even Trump Deserves Free Speech
She defends 'offensive and bigoted' speech at PEN gala
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 17, 2016 12:33 AM CDT
JK.Rowling lights the Empire State Building to mark the launch of her nonprofit children's organization Lumos last year.   (Evan Agostini)
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(Newser) – JK Rowling's passion for free expression is so strong it extends to someone she'd otherwise not care to discuss: Donald Trump. Speaking Monday night at PEN America's annual gala at the American Museum of Natural History, the Harry Potter creator noted that she opposed a petition calling for banning the presumptive GOP presidential nominee from entering the UK, saying such actions endanger everyone's rights, the AP reports. "I find almost everything that Mr. Trump says objectionable. I consider him offensive and bigoted," said Rowling, who received PEN's Literary Service Award for her "extraordinary creativity" and for her efforts on behalf of institutionalized children and other causes. "But he has my full support to come to my country and be offensive and bigoted there."

Rowling—who said last year that Potter villain Lord Voldemort was "nowhere near" as bad as Trump—called herself lucky to live in a part of the world where speech is protected and accepted that some would object to her work. "My critics are at liberty to claim that I am trying to convert children to satanism," she said. "And I'm free to explain I'm exploring human nature and morality—or to say 'You're an idiot.'" PEN, a literary and human rights organization, honored advocates for speech and prisoners of censorship worldwide, from Egypt to Flint, Mich. Thanks in part to Rowling's star power, PEN raised more than $1.75 million, the highest total in memory for its fundraising ceremony.