More than 50 actors, writers, journalists and playwrights wrote a response to apparent “hate speech” directed towards her, which was published in The Sunday Times.
The letter – apparently a reaction to the #RIPJKRowling hashtag that trended as former fans rebuked her for her controversial comments on transgender people – said Rowling is a victim of “an insidious, authoritarian and misogynistic trend in social media”.
It claimed that the hashtag was “just the latest example of hate speech directed against her”.
Rowling has been widely criticised by activists and fans for her remarks about transgender people, which have been viewed by many as harmful and transphobic. The author has denied making transphobic comments.
The latest development in the row surrounding her views emerged shortly before the publication of her new Strike novel, Troubled Blood, which was released under Rowling’s pseudonym, Robert Galbraith.
Critics linked this plot with Rowling’s stance on single-sex spaces, and an essay in which she suggested that “when you throw open the doors of bathrooms and changing rooms to any man who believes or feels he’s a woman ... then you open the door to any and all men who wish to come inside”.
Despite the controversy, Troubled Blood sold 64,633 copies in its first five days, nearly double the sales of its predecessor in the series over the same period.
“Rowling has consistently shown herself to be an honourable and compassionate person, and the appalling hashtag #RIPJKRowling is just the latest example of hate speech directed against her and other women that Twitter and other platforms enable and implicitly endorse,” the letter said.
“We are signing this letter in the hope that, if more people stand up against the targeting of women online, we might at least make it less acceptable to engage in it or profit from it.
“We wish JK Rowling well and stand in solidarity with her.”
See the full list of signatories below:
Ian McEwan, author; Lionel Shriver, author; Griff Rhys Jones, actor; Graham Linehan, writer; Maureen Chadwick, writer; Andrew Davies, writer; Frances Barber, actress; Craig Brown, writer; Alexander Armstrong, actor; Amanda Craig, writer; Philip Hensher, writer; Susan Hill, writer; Jane Thynne, writer; Ben Miller, actor; Simon Fanshawe, writer; James Dreyfus, actor; Frances Welch, writer; Francis Wheen, writer; Arthur Matthews, writer; Aminatta Forna, writer; Joan Smith, writer; Nick Cohen, journalist; Kath Gotts, composer & lyricist; Ann McManus, writer; Eileen Gallagher, writer & producer; Jimmy Mulville, producer; Lizzie Roper, actress; Stella O’Malley, author; Nina Paley, animator; Julie Bindel, journalist; Abigail Shrier, journalist; Rachel Rooney, author; Jane Harris, writer; Tatsuya Ishida, cartoonist; Lisa Marchiano, author; Zuby, musician and author; Debbie Hayton, journalist; Gillian Philip, Author, Jonny Best, musician; Manick Govinda, arts consultant; Russell Celyn Jones, writer; Magi Gibson, writer; Victoria Whitworth, writer; Dr Mez Packer, writer; Grace Carley, producer; Sam Leith, journalist; Malcolm Clark, television producer-director; Shirley Wishart, musician; Charlotte Delaney, writer; Nehanda Ferguson, musician; Justin Hill, writer; Trezza Azzopardi, writer; Birdy Rose, artist; Jess de Wahls, textile artist; Mo Lovatt, writer; Simon Edge, novelist; Tom Stoppard, playwright; and Amanda Smyth, writer.