J.K. Rowling Reported To Police By Former ‘Big Brother’ Contestant Over “Transphobia”; Rowling Says She Has Harassment Claim Against Presenter

A simmering, years-long row between J.K. Rowling and broadcaster India Willoughby has spilled over into a police complaint against the Harry Potter author over alleged transphobia.

Willoughby, who has appeared on Celebrity Big Brother in the UK and co-hosted shows including Loose Women, said she had reported Rowling to Northumbria Police in recent days.

More from Deadline

In an interview with Byline TV, Willoughby claimed she had a “cut and dry” complaint against Rowling, arguing that she had been repeatedly misgendered by the writer.

Willoughby underwent gender reassignment surgery in 2015 and was credited with being the first transgender TV news reporter in the UK, working for ITV Tyne Tees regional news.

In recent days, Rowling has repeatedly declined to use Willoughby’s preferred pronouns and has openly mocked the broadcaster in posts on Twitter, now X.

“The mask is off. People historically have given her the benefit of the doubt, hearing that all she is doing is defending women’s rights,” Willoughby said. “She can’t argue that anymore now that she’s actually come out and broadly said to me that India Willoughby is a man.”

The UK’s Crown Prosecution Service states that hostility based on transgender identity can be prosecuted as a hate crime.

Northumbria Police said: “On Monday, March 4, we received a complaint about a post on social media. We are currently awaiting to speak to the complainant further.”

Rowling Responds

In a series of posts on X, Rowling hit back, arguing that she had been advised by lawyers that Willoughby’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,” Rowling added. “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.”

The author also pointed to an employment tribunal ruling in 2021, which found that researcher Maya Forstater’s gender-critical views were a protected philosophical belief under the Equality Act. “No law compels anyone to pretend to believe that India is a woman,” Rowling said.

Deadline has reported in recent weeks that Rowling has been involved in the process to find a writer for a live-action Harry Potter series for Max. The pitch process has been narrowed down to three finalists: Francesca Gardiner, Tom Moran, and Kathleen Jordan.

Best of Deadline

Sign up for Deadline's Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.