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India Willoughby’s JK Rowling complaint did not meet criminal threshold – police

Broadcaster India Willoughby’s accusation that author JK Rowling misgendered her online did not “meet the criminal threshold”, Northumbria Police have said.

In an interview with Byline TV earlier this week, Willoughby, a trans woman and broadcaster, said she had reported the Harry Potter author to the police for calling her a man.

On Sunday, Rowling posted a criticism on X of trans women being allowed into women’s changing rooms and in the thread she spoke about Willoughby.

The author wrote: “India didn’t become a woman. India is cosplaying a misogynistic male fantasy of what a woman is.”

Women of the Year Lunch and Awards 2023
India Willoughby said she had reported the Harry Potter author to police for calling her a man (Ian West/PA)

In the interview with Byline TV, Willoughby, 58, said of the posts: “JK Rowling has definitely committed a crime.

“I’m legally a woman. She knows I’m a woman and she calls me a man. It’s a protected characteristic.”

Willoughby added that she had contacted Northumbria Police to report Rowling’s comments, which she described as a “hate crime”.

“I don’t know if that’s going to be treated as a hate crime, malicious communications, but it’s a cut-and-dry offence as far as I’m concerned,” she added.

In a statement given to the PA news agency on Friday, a Northumbria Police spokesperson said: “On Monday, March 4, we received a complaint about a post on social media.

“While we recognise the upset this may have caused, the post was reviewed and did not meet the criminal threshold.

“The complainant has been updated of this.”

After Willoughby announced she had reported Rowling, the author said that Willoughby appeared to have forgotten the Forstater ruling, which “established that gender critical views can be protected in law”.

Maya Forstater successfully brought a case to the Employment Appeal Tribunal to establish that gender-critical views are a protected philosophical belief under the Equality Act 2010 in 2021.

Rowling also claimed she was advised previously that she had a legal case against Willoughby for defamation and added that there is no law compelling her to refer to the TV personality as a woman.

She said on X: “Some time ago, lawyers advised me that not only did I have a clearly winnable case against India Willoughby for defamation, but that India’s obsessive targeting of me over the past few years may meet the legal threshold for harassment.

“I ignored this advice because I couldn’t be bothered giving India the publicity he so clearly craves.

“Nevertheless, we must all do our bit to combat hate, so India will be glad to know I’ve taken note of his homophobia, racism and humane stance on immigration.

“Nor have I forgotten India’s shocking transphobia.

“It appears to have slipped what passes for India’s mind that he’s previously called a fellow trans woman a man on this very site.

“Surprisingly for such an eminent legal authority, he appears to have forgotten that the Forstater ruling established that gender-critical views can be protected in law as a philosophical belief.

“No law compels anyone to pretend to believe that India is a woman.

“Aware as I am that it’s an offence to lie to law enforcement, I’ll simply have to explain to the police that, in my view, India is a classic example of the male narcissist who lives in a state of perpetual rage that he can’t compel women to take him at his own valuation.”