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LONDON—Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling has been hit by a social media backlash after donating $1.68 million (£1 million) to the campaign working against Scotland ending its 300-year-old union with England and becoming an independent country.
The English-born writer has been based in Scotland for over 20 years.
Rowling, who lives in Edinburgh, said she had decided that “while independence might give us opportunities … it also carries serious risks.”
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She also said the debate became a bit “death-eaterish” when it turned to voters’ lineage—those residing in Scotland will be allowed to vote in the election to decide on independence in September, whether they are a Scottish or not.
Death Eaters are supporters of the evil Voldemort character in her Harry Potter series who hate people without “pure-blood.”
But her comments conjured obscene online abuse and has seen her variously labeled a “Union cow bag” and a “disgrace” in various widely retweeted social media posts.
The U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron‘s official spokesman condemned the messages in The Telegraph newspaper, saying there is “never any place for abusive behavior in whatever sphere of life.”
On her official website, Rowling wrote a lengthy blog entry explaining her reasons for why she believes why Scotland should vote against separation, describing a yes vote as a “historically bad mistake.”
On her site, she introduced the piece claiming it would likely not be of much interest to those not living in Scotland or the U.K. but added: “If you’re only vaguely interested, or pressed for time, there’s a mention of Death Eaters in paragraph 5.”
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If it rejects independence, Rowling predicted that Scotland would be “in the heady position of the spouse who looked like walking out, but decided to give things one last go.”
Rowling, who has close links to the Labor Party, recently attended a special comedy concert hosted by Eddie Izzard in Edinburgh that was part of a drive to convince Scots that the English do not want them to leave the Union.
Politicians up and down the country were quick to condemn the personal nature of the cyber attacks on Rowling.
Baroness Liddell of Coatdyke, a former Scotland secretary and Labor peer, told The Telegraph that some of the things said about Rowling were unrepeatable.
“This is a shame on my country and I am appalled and I urge the First Minister to stand up for the decent people of Scotland who will have nothing to do with this,” she said in a House of Lords debate.
Many Scottish celebrities have declined to say how they will vote, though former James Bond star Sean Connery is a prominent independence supporter.
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