‘Harry Potter’ author JK Rowling says ‘spiteful’ UK press hounded her
“Harry Potter” author JK Rowling told a public inquiry into British media standards on Thursday she was forced to move house because of tabloid harassment and had been made to feel like a hostage in her home after she gave birth.
During two hours of evidence, Rowling revealed a note had been slipped into her young daughter’s schoolbag by a journalist and that she had chased a paparazzo photographer down the street when he tried to take a picture of her with her children.
Rowling, who is protective of her three children’s privacy and has regularly complained to the press, said if you did stand up to certain newspapers about their behaviour, they could be “spiteful” and seek retribution. “This doesn’t apply to the whole of the press but the attitude seems to be utterly cavalier, indifference, what does it matter, you’re famous, you’re asking for it,” she said.
The Leveson inquiry, held in London’s High Court, has proved compelling viewing this week as a host of public figures from actor Hugh Grant to families involved in notorious murders have explained how they have suffered at the hands of newspapers.
It has shone a critical light on Britain’s aggressive tabloid press, which engages in a ruthless hunt for stories to prop up otherwise flagging sales, splashing on the sex lives of politicians and the stars of film, TV and sport, to whet the appetite of celebrity-obsessed Britons. Appearing nervous at first and speaking softly, Rowling revealed that two years after the launch of the first of the hugely successful Harry Potter books in 1997, she had been forced from her home. “It had become untenable to remain in that house,” she said, saying photographers and journalists had besieged her home, details of which had been published by papers. “I was a sitting duck for anyone trying to find me.”
She spoke of her fury at finding a letter from a journalist in her 5-year-old daughter’s schoolbag and her outrage when the head teacher at one of her children’s schools was contacted to try to glean details about the final book in the Potter series. Clearly what angered her most were photos taken of her children, particularly one of her eldest daughter in a swimsuit. “A child, no matter who their parents are, deserves privacy,” said Rowling, whose seven Harry Potter books have sold more than 400 million copies worldwide and spawned a record-breaking film franchise, and has been billed as the world’s first author billionaire.
Resource: Today’s Zaman