Over the weekend, Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling fired off a tweet storm against President Donald Trump, ranting about a deceptively edited video that made it seem like the president had snubbed a disabled child. The author later realized her mistake, but apologized only to the family with the disabled child, not to the man she had called a “monster.”
“Trump imitated a disabled reporter. Now he pretends not to see a child in a wheelchair, as though frightened he might catch his condition,” Rowling declared on Friday. “This monster of narcissism values only himself and his pale reflections. The disabled, minorities, transgender people, the poor, women (unless related to him by ties of blood, and therefore his creations) are treated with contempt, because they do not resemble Trump.”
For context, here is the video to which Rowling responded.
This happened at the tail end of an event. At the beginning, Trump directly addressed the child, leaning down to smile at him.
In fact, the boy’s mother sent a message to J.K. Rowling. “Uummmmm….If someone can please get a message to JK Rowling: Trump didn’t snub my son & Monty wasn’t even trying to shake his hand (1. He’s 3 and hand shaking is not his thing, 2. he was showing off his newly acquired secret service patch). Thanks,” declared Marjorie Kelly Weer in a Facebook post.
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) July 30, 2017
Even so, Rowling’s attack picked up steam. Actor Don Cheadle retweeted Rowling, adding, “Well … kooties…right?”
Chelsea Clinton also retweeted Rowling’s tweet storm against Trump.
Piers Morgan took Rowling to task in an article for Britain’s Daily Mail. “JK Rowling hates Donald Trump. I don’t just mean she dislikes him intently, I mean she loathes him with a raw, visceral fury,” Morgan wrote. “Barely an hour goes by without Ms Rowling publicly attacking, mocking, sneering at and generally abusing Trump.”
Morgan went step by step through Rowling’s attack, noting that the author claimed Trump “deliberately” snubbed the disabled boy. But he also pointed to the real footage of the event, in which “it turns out that Trump spent more time with the boy in the wheelchair than any other guest — displaying all the compassion and empathy he had been accused of failing to display.”
Rowling refused to delete the tweets for a long period of time, and Morgan attacked her for it. “By doing so, she is telling her millions of young impressionable Potter fans that it’s absolutely fine to lie and never correct or apologise for a lie — after spending the past two years telling them that Trump is disgusting because he lies and never corrects or apologises for his lies,” Morgan declared. “This makes her a shameful, disgraceful hypocrite.”
Not long after Morgan’s article, Rowling actually did delete the tweets. She then proceeded to apologize, but not to Trump.
“Re: my tweets about the small boy in a wheelchair whose proferred hand the president appeared to ignore in press footage, multiple sources have informed me that that was not a full or accurate representation of their interaction,” Rowling admitted. “I very clearly projected my own sensitivities around the issue of disabled people being overlooked or ignored onto the images I saw and if that caused any distress to that boy or his family, I apologise unreservedly.”
Re: my tweets about the small boy in a wheelchair whose proferred hand the president appeared to ignore in press footage, multiple /1
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) July 31, 2017
Note, the author did not apologize at all to Trump, whom she had branded a “monster” for “deliberately” snubbing a disabled boy.
Apparently, the president did not deserve an apology. Rowling apologized for causing “any distress to that boy or his family,” but she didn’t directly attack the boy or the family, she used them as a cudgel to attack Trump.
The author deserves credit for admitting her mistake, but she should have apologized to the man she actually attacked, not to the family.