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JK Rowling’s net worth went from nothing, since she was a single mother on welfare, to over $600 million presently. Here's what could go wrong.

JK Rowling: All the Twitter rants chipping away at her net worth

Trans women are women, trans men are men, and nonbinary people are who they say they are. When JK Rowling started ranting “gender critical” aka transphobic positions on Twitter last month, most of her fandom responded with outrage, and it could affect the author’s massive net worth for years. 

JK Rowling famously lost her billionaire status in 2016 by giving to multiple charities. Billed as a rags-to-riches story, Rowling’s net worth went from nothing, since she was a single mother on welfare, to over $600 million presently. 

Fans regarded JK Rowling as a tolerant, compassionate woman who used her net worth to help struggling people and used her platform on Twitter to champion against oppression. That perspective changed when she became vocal about her views on trans women. 

The origin of the rants

JK Rowling’s opinions came to light when she was caught liking transphobic tweets from well-known “gender critical” activists. At first, Rowling dismissed the likes as having “old lady fingers” and accidentally pressing a button. This was around the time Fantastic Beasts hit theaters, which boosted her net worth despite the Twitter incident. 

Then, last month, when JK Rowling accidentally tweeted anti-trans rhetoric to a fan submitting a drawing for a contest. While Rowling apologized to the fan, she said nothing about the nature of the tweet, only that she meant it to go somewhere else. 

Of course, her fandom called her out. In response, JK Rowling doubled down, released an essay outlining her stance, and a bunch of twitter rants buckling down on her transphobic beliefs. Calls to cancel Rowling soon followed, making some fans wonder if this will chip away at her net worth. Here are the more infamous ones. 

People who menstruate

While most people who menstruate are women, trans men and nonbinary people can, too. JK Rowling’s condescending reply excludes these people from the topic of reproductive justice in a way that’s just rude. 

“Men in bathrooms”

JK Rowling parroted the distorted talking point that trans acceptance will lead to more men raiding bathrooms to assault women. As if predators follow rules or social conventions in the first place, this tired argument has been used by people with less net worth & influence. 

Comparing hormone treatment to conversion therapy

Conversion therapy is awful. Done without the consent of minors, it makes queer youth feel guilty about who they are, including trans youth. Comparing hormone therapy, which trans youth often have to beg for, to conversion therapy is a big distortion. 

Firstly, per trans youth, it’s harder to get than people like JK Rowling think. Insurance often doesn’t cover it, so unless you have a hefty net worth, hormone therapy can be out of reach. Second, comparing a practice that disenfranchises queer youth to a potentially life-saving therapy is just misinformed at this point. 

Mental illness medication

As if JK Rowling’s attacks on trans people were bad enough, she also has some distorted views on medication. As someone who was public about her struggle with depression, JK Rowling should know better. Hell, she invented a monster to metaphorize clinical depression in Harry Potter

JK Rowling took the original tweet down and argued that her point was misconstrued in a twitter thread. She clarified that she meant it to illustrate how parents were too quick to rush to hormone therapy for trans youth like how they’re too quick to medicate them for mental illness and behavioral problems. 

JK Rowling’s rebuttal combines two distortions in one about how hormone therapy is accessed and how mental illness is treated. Both subjects can be googled or, we don’t know, you could ask people actually affected by mental illness treatment accessibility.  At this point, fans were calling for Rowling to be canceled, clarification or none. 

Disappointment from fans

JK Rowling is an author who built her net worth on a book series with a moral pillar of accepting those who are marginalized. People who grew up with JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series who are trans, nonbinary, members of the queer community, and allies are outraged and disgusted, including celebrities and fellow authors. 

A boycott against JK Rowling is brewing and could hurt her net worth. Fans could stop going to Universal Studios, JK Rowling’s biggest source of income. There’s also discussion of boycotting the Harry Potter play on Broadway or her new Fantastic Beasts film, already steeped in controversy and following up the badly-rated second one. 

However, if there’s one thing digging into JK Rowling’s massive net worth right now, it’s COVID. Many fans are reluctant to travel to the park, Broadway is closed until at least 2021, and there are other movies we’d rather risk coronavirus for, let alone stay home and stream.

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