“Harry Potter” creator J.K. Rowling is no fan of Donald Trump. The author has gone so far as to compare him — unfavorably — to Lord Voldemort, the archvillain of her famous series of books.
But Rowling is more offended by threats to free speech than she is by the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.
In a speech Monday at the PEN Literary Gala in New York, Rowling sharply criticized a recent petition circulating in the U.K. seeking to have Trump banned from entering the country.
“Only last year, we saw an online petition to ban Donald Trump from entry to the U.K. It garnered half a million signatures,” Rowling told the crowd, which reacted with scattered applause and laughter.
“Just a moment,” a smiling Rowling said. “Now, I find almost everything that Mr. Trump says objectionable. I consider him offensive and bigoted. But he has my full support to come to my country and be offensive and bigoted there.” The audience applauded her.
“His freedom to speak protects my freedom to call him a bigot,” Rowling continued. “His freedom guarantees mine. Unless we take that absolute position, without caveats or apologies, we have set foot upon a road with only one destination. If you seek the removal of freedoms from an opponent simply on the grounds that they have offended you, you have crossed a line to stand alongside tyrants who imprison, torture and kill on exactly the same justification.”
Rowling was at the gala to accept the 2016 PEN/Allen Foundation Literary Service Award, which has also been awarded to Philip Roth, Salman Rushdie and Toni Morrison.