A photo of author Stephen King opposite a photo of author and noted transphobe JK Rowling

Why Is Stephen King Endorsing J.K. Rowling?

Another day, another disappointing endorsement of a transphobe. Stephen King has spoken out in support of J.K. Rowling’s latest book … which, while not the same as expressing support for her views, is still extremely disappointing. And all the more so because the book in question, The Running Grave, spells out quite clearly what Rowling thinks of trans people and autistic people.

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Written under Rowling’s pseudonym, Robert Galbraith, The Running Grave is all about a cult, you see. A cult that—wait for it—preys on autistic people and encourages lesbians to have sex with men. J.K. Rowling might as well be standing over the reader and asking them, “Do you get it? Do you get it? Those cult members are a stand-in for the cult of gender ideology.” Stephen King not only liked the book, but he also said in his X post that it “got me through a difficult time.”

Okay, but I can think of many other people who are also going through a difficult time … because of views like Rowling’s.

King and Rowling’s previous interactions

King’s support of Rowling is a little puzzling when you consider that last time he mentioned her, it was to say that he’d been “canceled” by her. During an interview with The Daily Beast in 2021, the following exchange took place:

One thing I’d like to give you credit for is calling out J.K. Rowling for all her anti-trans proselytism. There was this bizarre exchange, wherein you responded to a fan’s tweet saying, “Trans women are women,” and she reacted by blocking you on Twitter and deleting a tweet praising you.

Jo canceled me. She sorta blocked me and all that. Here’s the thing: She is welcome to her opinion. That’s the way that the world works. If she thinks that trans women are dangerous, or that trans women are somehow not women, or whatever problem she has with it—the idea that someone “masquerading” as a woman is going to assault a “real” woman in the toilet—if she believes all those things, she has a right to her opinion. And then someone tweeted at me, “Do you think trans women are women?” and I said, “Yes, I do.” And that’s what she got angry about—my opinion. It’s like the old saying, “I don’t agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” So, nobody has “canceled” J.K. Rowling. She’s doing fine. I just felt that her belief was, in my opinion, wrong. We have differing opinions, but that’s life.

Well … we can say that King has taken a much more mature stance than Rowling over the past couple of years, I guess. And it is something, at least, that King has stood by his stance that trans women are women, even if he claims later on in the Daily Beast interview that “Jo’s opinion on trans women is an outlier in her entire political spectrum.” (It isn’t.)

But King dropping a positive comment about Rowling days after she went on another transphobic spiel about how she’d “happily” go to jail rather than change her views (something that wasn’t remotely on the table to begin with) has definitely got people on the defensive. And looking at the media landscape now, and how fraught it is with dangers for trans people, it’s easy to see why.

King may very well believe that he should defend to the death J.K. Rowling’s right to say whatever she pleases, but he’s not the one who’s going to be affected by the poison she puts out into the world.

Oh, and The Running Grave is not a good book.

(featured image: Astrid Stawiarz, Getty Images / Mike Marsland, WireImage)

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Sarah Barrett
Sarah Barrett (she/her) is a freelance writer with The Mary Sue who has been working in journalism since 2014. She loves to write about movies, even the bad ones. (Especially the bad ones.) The Raimi Spider-Man trilogy and the Star Wars prequels changed her life in many interesting ways. She lives in one of the very, very few good parts of England.