JK Rowling supporter launches legal appeal after being fired 'for supporting author's trans views'

Gillian Philip at the Wigtown Book Festival

Gillian Philip at the Wigtown Book Festival

GILLIAN PHILIP
Jack Walters

By Jack Walters


Published: 20/09/2023

- 18:48

The award-winning Harry Potter also came under pressure over her views on trans rights

A JK Rowling supporter has launched a legal appeal after claiming she was sacked for endorsing the Harry Potter author’s views on transgender issues.

Gillian Philip, 59, claimed the book packaging business Working Partners and the publisher HarperCollins terminated her contract because of her beliefs about biological sex.


Philip supported JK Rowling by tweeting “#ISTANDWITHROWLING” in 2020.

The Harry Potter author was embroiled in drama after first expressing her views on the gender debate by questioning the term “people who menstruate”.

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Philip was one of several authors at the time writing under the name Erin Hunter on the popular animal fantasy series that includes Warrior Cats, Survivors and Bravelands.

The Glaswegian-author argued she was removed from the Erin Hunter team after supporting Rowling.

Philip claimed she was inundated with abuse and death threats.

She later challenged the trolls by tweeting: “Bring it on, homophobes and lesbian-haters.”

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JK RowlingJK Rowling penned all seven Harry Potter booksPA

Her comments prompted a further barrage of social media fury.

James Noble, the managing editor of Working Partners, responded to the complaints at the time by writing: “The worlds created by Erin Hunter are meant to be inclusive for all readers and we want to let you know that Gillian Philip will no longer be writing any Erin Hunter novels.”

Philip, who took the firm to an employment tribunal last April, is hoping to appeal the ruling which fixated on her “worker” status in Edinburgh.

Shah Qureshi, a partner at law firm Irwin Mitchell and Ms Philip’s legal advisor, said: “Non-traditional employment relationships are now commonplace, and it is important that those working under such arrangements, like Gillian, get the same protections as others.

Trans protest in Oxford

Trans protest in Oxford

PA

“This includes the right not to be discriminated against for one’s beliefs.

“There are many workers in publishing and the creative industries with unorthodox working arrangements who nevertheless have mutual obligations with their employers akin to that required to be classed as a worker or employee.”

HarperCollins UK distanced itself from the row and that it had no contact with the author.

A spokesman said it had “only an arrangement” with Working Partners.

Working Partners said in a previous statement that “Gillian Philip had associated the Erin Hunter pen-name with her personal views on Twitter, thus associating them with the whole collective” and that “the decision taken was not in direct response to the nature of Gillian’s personally expressed views”.

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