J.K. Rowling Defends "Bigoted" Donald Trump's Right to Free Speech

PEN America / YouTube
J.K. Rowling speaks during the PEN America Literary Gala at the American Natural History Museum in Manhattan.

"If my offended feelings can justify a travel ban on Donald Trump, I have no moral ground 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," the 'Harry Potter' author says.

J.K. Rowling is not a fan of Donald Trump, but she still believes it is wrong to try and ban him from a country based on his campaign rhetoric. 

The Harry Potter author used the presumptive GOP presidential nominee as her example of the importance of free speech when she spoke Monday night during the PEN America Literary Gala at the American Natural History Museum in New York City.

"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 U.K. It garnered half a million signatures," Rowling said. 

At that point, the audience began to applaud, but she asked to finish her thought. 

"I find almost everything that Mr. Trump says objectionable," Rowling continued. "I consider him offensive and bigoted. But he has my full support to come to my country and be offensive and bigoted there. His freedom to speak protects my freedom to call him a bigot. His freedom guarantees mine."

Trump has been criticized for being a sexist and a racist for previous statements he has made about women and undocumented immigrants from Mexico. 

"Unless we take that absolute position without caveats or apologies, we have set foot upon a road with only one destination," Rowling said. "If my offended feelings can justify a travel ban on Donald Trump, I have no moral ground 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. If you seek the removal of freedoms from an opponent simply on the grounds that they have offended you, you have crossed the line to stand alongside tyrants who imprison, torture and kill on exactly the same justification."

Rowling beings speaking at 1:49:00 in the clip below.

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