Oxfam apologises for 'offence' from cartoon resembling JK Rowling

JK Rowling and cartoon woman

The dress is similar to that which JK Rowling wore at a premiere

Sam Montgomery

By Sam Montgomery

Published: 07/06/2023

- 08:58

Updated: 07/06/2023

- 08:59

Charity takes down Pride Month promo video amid Terf badge criticism but stands its ground on JK Rowling denial

Oxfam International has apologised “for the offence caused” by a now-deleted cartoon, which attracted criticism for an unflattering resemblance between a woman with a Terf badge and JK Rowling.

The charity removed the video from social media, edited out the woman in question, and reposted the cartoon with a reaffirmation of its commitment to “make an important point about the real harm caused by transphobia”.

Oxfam International has admitted that it made a “mistake” in including a badge with the term ‘Terf’ (Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminist) which is a derogatory term used to describe those critical of gender-diverse individuals.

Responding to those drawing visual comparisons between the cartoon woman and the Harry Potter author, the charity affirmed that “there was no intention by Oxfam or the film-makers for this slide to have portrayed any particular person or people.”

Still from Oxfam video

The slide bared the caption “preyed on by hate groups online and offline"


In the original video, a red haired woman with blood-red eyes and unflattering features wears a green dress similar to that which JK Rowling wore at the premiere of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.

Where the Harry Potter author’s outfit was complete with a poppy, the Oxfam cartoon woman sports the Terf badge in the same location.

This moment in the video contained a caption that lamented the LGBT community being “preyed on by hate groups online and offline”.

JK Rowling has an online presence that is vocal on views on gender identity, stemming from a series of tweets posted in 2020.

JK Rowling with her Companion of Honour

JK Rowling received an OBE in 2001


Swiftly deleting the video after a torrent of backlash, Oxfam scrambled to put out a statement explaining it had “removed the post because of concerns raised,” and promised to repost a redacted version shortly.

Oxfam have pointed to the inclusion of the term ‘Terf’ as the sole reasoning for self-censoring the video.

Oxfam added: "We fully support both an individual's rights to hold their philosophical beliefs and a person's right to have their identity respected, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, and sex characteristics."

Feminist author Milly Hill told The Times: “Oxfam’s caricature of an ‘ugly hag’ wearing a Terf badge is so typical of the attitudes displayed to feminists who stand up for women’s rights.
JK Rowling smiling

JK Rowling once jibed at Jolyon Maugham "you want to cosy up to feminists, go lose another court case"


“We are evil old witches basically, and this is the same old misogyny we’ve been fighting for decades, repackaged as ‘progressive’ and ‘liberal’.

“It is utterly shocking that an established global charity like Oxfam would portray women in this way, it shows huge disrespect and discrimination – but it also shows their true colours.

“Terf is just another misogynist slur against women who are raising absolutely valid questions about the medicalisation of children with gender dysphoria, and the rights of women to their own spaces and sports.”

This comes in the wake of headline hitting controversy at the Oxford Union over the appearance of Prof Kathleen Stock, who has vocal gender-critical views.

The talk on transgender rights was interrupted at the 10 minute mark by a student activist glueing their hand to the floor before being escorted out the debating chamber by police.

Last week, Regent's Park College of Oxford University imposed a rigorous harassment policy with the threat of expulsion for those found 'consistently using incorrect pronouns.'

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