JK Rowling tells police ‘Arrest Me’

JK Rowling has expressed her concern over the implementation of new hate crime laws in Scotland, urging for her potential arrest under them. In a message to her social media followers, she highlighted the impact on freedom of speech: “Freedom of speech and belief are at an end in Scotland if the accurate description of biological sex is deemed criminal.”

Regarding the new Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Act, she stated, “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.” The Act aims to combat hatred against protected characteristics.

Despite the introduction of these laws, concerns have been raised about the exclusion of women as a protected category. However, the Scottish Government has reassured that separate legislation will be proposed to address disrespect towards women.

Humza Yousaf, leader of the SNP, voiced his support for the new laws, emphasizing the importance of combating hatred. He praised Police Scotland’s ability to enforce the legislation effectively, stating, “Let’s remember of course that when it comes to stirring up offences of racial hatred, stirring up offences have existed since 1986, being policed with virtually no controversy whatsoever.”

Rowling took to Twitter to express her fears that the new law could lead to activists silencing legitimate discussions. 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.”

Regarding the potential criminalization of misgendering, Minister Siobhan Brown explained, “It would be a police matter for them to assess what happens. It could be reported and it could be investigated whether or not the police would think it was criminal is up to Police Scotland.” She clarified that the Act requires threatening and abusive behavior to reach a criminal threshold.

Despite criticisms, Brown reiterated that the Scottish Government aims to provide further protection for women through a separate misogyny Bill. The legislation includes safeguards to protect free speech, such as a “triple lock” of protection and compatibility with human rights conventions.

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