BBC receives 200 complaints after presenter fails to challenge JK Rowling “vicious” transphobe claims

The BBC received 199 complaints after a prominent news presenter failed to challenge a guest who claimed JK Rowling was transphobic.

Evan Davies allowed Stacey Henley, a transgender woman, to criticize Rowling’s “reprehensible views” during a discussion about video games. The Hogwarts Legacy on Radio 4 P.M show earlier this month.

Henley, editor-in-chief of The Gamer, accused the writer of pushing “transphobia” and said he was active in campaigning “against trans people”.

Davis said Rowling “wouldn’t say she’s transphobic,” but this attempt to balance the conversation came minutes after Henley’s initial comments.

The BBC apologized for the exchange after listeners said it presented an “unfair characterization” of Rowling’s views on transgender issues.

“We recognize that there was not enough challenge to make the claims and we fell short here,” the BBC said. “This is a difficult and controversial area that we at the BBC try very hard to cover fairly and well. But we should have challenged Stacey Henley more directly on her claims and apologized that we did not.”

Davis also admitted that the criticism from the audience was fair. “I think maybe we got stuck because we were really trying hard not to debate @jk_rowling or her opinionated material. We didn’t intend or cast it that way,” he tweeted.

Rowling’s views on transgender issues have drawn widespread criticism over the years, including from some of the biggest stars of the Harry Potter film franchise.

The writer’s position will be explored in an upcoming podcast, The Witch Trials of JK RowlingDuring which he would say that his views were “deeply” misunderstood

“I never came to bother anyone. However, I didn’t feel uncomfortable coming down from my pedestal,” he says in a trailer for The Free Press Show, which releases on February 21.

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