JK Rowling has taunted transgender television presenter India Willoughby in a Twitter spat over celebrities backing the trans children’s charity Mermaids.
The Harry Potter author yesterday took a thinly veiled swipe at Emma Watson and other celebrities who backed the charity after a trustee quit over revelations he spoke at an ‘academic’ conference hosted by an organisation that promotes services to paedophiles.
Mermaids trustee Dr Jacob Breslow presented research at an event in Baltimore in 2011, which appeared to criticise societal understanding of paedophiles, while the charity also recently came under fire amid accusations of giving chest-flattening devices to young girls against their parents’ wishes.
Ms Rowling said the charity had achieved unprecedented influence in the UK with the help of ‘certain corporations and celebrities’ who boosted them despite ‘red flags’.
But Ms Willougby slammed the author, tweeting: ‘Someone really needs to take legal action against JK Rowling.
‘This is off the scale. The GC tactic seems to be to drown the trans charity Mermaids in a tsunami of innuendo and lies – throw a stack of mud, some of it will stick.’
But Ms Rowling responded that she would be the first to sign any petition against her.
She responded: ‘India, I swear to God, if you want to start a petition for Mermaids to take me on in court, the first signature will be mine.’
Celebrities who have publicly backed Mermaids include the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Harry Potter star Emma Watson and Jameela Jamil.
JK Rowling has hit out at celebrities who backed Mermaids for a second time this week, after previous criticism last month
Dr Jacob Breslow sensationally quit as a trustee of transgender children’s charity Mermaids after it emerged he had spoken at an ‘academic’ conference hosted by an organisation that promotes services to paedophiles
India Willoughby (pictured) slammed the author, tweeting: ‘Someone really needs to take legal action against JK Rowling’
Transgender charity Mermaids has been mired in controversy in recent months and has been criticised by JK Rowling
The Twitter spat comes after a series of tweets on Tuesday evening in which Ms Rowling wrote: ‘We’ve now learned that Mermaids appointed a paedophilia apologist as Trustee and that their online moderator encouraged kids to move onto a platform notorious for sexual exploitation. This is a charity that’s achieved unprecedented influence in the UK.
‘They couldn’t have achieved it without the money and public support of certain corporations and celebrities, who eagerly boosted them even though the red flags have been there for years. Mermaids’ fingers were all over the Tavistock Gender Identity Clinic debacle.
‘They’ve been allowed into classrooms, trained police and had unprecedented influence over health policy, even though by their own admission they aren’t a medical charity. We’ve also found out they’re sending devices to flatten breasts to underage girls w/o parental consent. 4/5
‘So I don’t doubt that there are some panicky phone calls being placed to PR people by certain corporations and celebrities right now, but as they remain completely insulated from the severe harm they’ve enabled, my sympathy can be measured in gnats’ thimbles. 5/X’
Her comments came after Dr Jacob Breslow sensationally quit on Monday night.
Dr Jacob Breslow, who at the time was a PhD student in gender research at the London School of Economics, presented his research at an event in Baltimore for the American-based B4U-ACT in 2011.
B4U-ACT lists its aims as supporting and promoting ‘a science-informed understanding about people in our communities with an attraction to children or adolescents’ on its own website.
Emma Watson tweeted in 2020 that she had donated to Mermaids and encouraged others to do the same
JK Rowling hit out at celebrities who ‘eagerly boosted’ the charity which has been hit by controversy
Dr Breslow’s presentation, titled Sexual Alignment: Critiquing Sexual Orientation, The Pedophile, and the DSM V, appears to criticise societal understanding of paedophiles.
The research promises ‘major revisions on how paedophilia is defined, diagnosed and understood’ and says it will approach the topic through ‘queer and feminist lenses’.
His presentation, in parts, also adopts the controversial phrase ‘minor attracted persons’, which is used by some people instead of paedophile.
B4U-ACT describes itself as a group with a ‘unique collaborative effort between minor-attracted people and mental health professionals to promote communication and understanding between the two groups’.
Breslow’s research paper promises ‘major revisions on how paedophilia is defined, diagnosed and understood’ and says it will approach the topic through ‘queer and feminist lenses’
JK Rowling previously called out celebrities who had supported the charity without doing ‘due diligence’
It hosted a ‘scientific symposium’ in Maryland in August 2011, with concern raised over how paedophilia was addressed by American academic journals at the time.
The Times yesterday reported Dr Breslow, who works for LSE’s Department of Gender Studies, was made a trustee of Mermaids in July 2022.
The transgender charity, which has been mired in controversy in recent months and has been criticised by Harry Potter author JK Rowling, told the newspaper it was unaware of his appearance at the 2011 conference.
Mermaids was last week facing scrutiny from regulators after they were accused of giving chest-flattening devices to young girls against their parents’ wishes.
The Charity Commission has confirmed they are ‘assessing’ safeguarding concerns raised about Mermaids after an investigation also led to claims they were giving out medical advice on puberty blockers without the relevant training.
Mermaids staff allegedly offered to send a breast binder to a girl they believed was only 14 after being told she was banned from using one by her mother.
According to the investigation by the Daily Telegraph, the charity has been offering binders to children as young as 13 despite their parents saying they oppose the practice.
JK Rowling previously slammed celebrities and organisations who had publicly backed the charity without doing their ‘due diligence’ as other critics called for an official probe into their practices.