JK Rowling's 'arrest me' challenge to hate laws not criminal, say police

The Harry Potter author appeared to challenge police to arrest her if her social media posts break the new laws.

JK Rowling’s comments challenging Scotland’s new hate crime law are “not criminal”, police have said.

The Harry Potter author posted a long thread on X, formerly Twitter, criticising the controversial legislation that came into force on Monday, April 1.

On Tuesday, Police Scotland confirmed it had received complaints about the social media post but that no action would be taken.

“The comments are not assessed to be criminal,” a spokesperson said.

Responding to the announcement, Rowling said: “I hope every woman in Scotland who wishes to speak up for the reality and importance of biological sex will be reassured by this announcement, and I trust that all women – irrespective of profile or financial means – will be treated equally under the law.”

It comes after Prime Minister Rishi Sunak defended the writer saying people should not be criminalised “for stating simple facts on biology”.

Rowling who has become a fierce critic of the Scottish Government’s stance on transgender rights, has been one of the highest profile critics of the legislation.

The Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Act, consolidating existing hate crime legislation and creating a new offence of stirring up hatred against protected characteristics.

The law has attracted criticism from Elon Musk, one of the world’s richest men, and Joe Rogan, the host of one of the world’s most popular podcasts.

And speaking on TalkSPORT, Ally McCoist branded the new law “madness”.

The former Rangers player and manager said that he and 48,000 other football fans will be breaching the legislation during Glasgow’s Old Firm clash on Sunday.

Women have not been given protection under the law, with the Scottish Government instead promising to bring forward legislation to tackle misogyny.

But with the new Act giving protection to transgender people, Rowling – who does not believe people can change their gender – insisted: “Freedom of speech and belief are at an end in Scotland if the accurate description of biological sex is deemed criminal.”

Sunak promised that his party will “always protect” free speech.

“People should not be criminalised for stating simple facts on biology,” he said.

“We believe in free speech in this country, and Conservatives will always protect it.”

A spokesperson for First Minister Humza Yousaf responded to Sunak’s comments, saying: “The Prime Minister’s comments ignore the fact that the right to freedom of expression is built into the Act and that it also has a high threshold for criminality.

“The legislation does not prevent people expressing controversial, challenging or offensive views, nor does it seek to stifle criticism or rigorous debate in any way.”

In a social media post criticising the new laws, Rowling insisted that the “legislation is wide open to abuse by activists who wish to silence those of us speaking out about the dangers of eliminating women’s and girls’ single-sex spaces”.

She argued: “It is impossible to accurately describe or tackle the reality of violence and sexual violence committed against women and girls, or address the current assault on women’s and girls’ rights, unless we are allowed to call a man a man.”

The children’s author also appeared to challenge police to arrest her if her social media posts break the new laws.

“I’m currently out of the country, but if what I’ve written here qualifies as an offence under the terms of the new act, I look forward to being arrested when I return to the birthplace of the Scottish Enlightenment,” she said.


Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has said people should not be criminalised “for stating simple facts on biology”, as he backed author JK Rowling in her criticism of new Scottish hate crime laws. #stvnews #news #scottishnews #jkrowling #humzayousaf #rishisunak

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However, Humza Yousaf declared that he is “very proud” of the new laws, saying they will help protect against a “rising tide” of hatred.

The Scottish First Minister also insisted he is “very confident in Police Scotland’s ability in order to implement this legislation in the way it should”.

It comes despite the force confirming more than an third of its officers have not yet completed an online training course in the new laws – with Deputy Chief Constable Alan Speirs saying that 10,000 of the force’s 16,000 plus officers have done so.

However Yousaf said Chief Constable Jo Farrell had “made it very clear the appropriate training is absolutely being provided”.

She said recently that the new laws will be applied “in a measured way”, promising there will be “close scrutiny” of how the legislation is enforced and what reports are received.

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