Police investigate online threat to J.K. Rowling

Authorities in the United Kingdom said they were investigating an online threat made against author J.K. Rowling on Sunday, after she offered support on social media to Salman Rushdie, the novelist who was attacked last week at an event in western New York.

Hours after the attack on Rushdie, who was stabbed roughly 10 times as he prepared to speak at the Chautauqua Institution, Rowling tweeted her condolences. She first wrote on Twitter, “Horrifying news,” then added: “Feeling very sick right now. Let him be OK.”

Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling was threatened on Twitter following last the weekend attack on Salman Rushdie.Credit:Getty

In response, a user wrote: “Don’t worry you are next.”

The tweet was later deleted, and the account was suspended by Sunday evening.

A spokesperson for Police Scotland said authorities had received a report of an online threat against Rowling and that an investigation was ongoing.

On Saturday, Rowling, 57, who wrote the award-winning Harry Potter series, assailed Twitter for allowing the social media account that lodged the threat to remain active.

“@TwitterSupport These are your guidelines, right?” she wrote. “Violence: You may not threaten violence against an individual or a group of people. We also prohibit the glorification of violence…”

Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

On Sunday, Warner Bros. Discovery, the entertainment company behind the Harry Potter film adaptations, offered a statement condemning the attack on Rowling.

“We stand with her and all the authors, storytellers and creators who bravely express their creativity and opinions,” the company said in a statement, which also offered condolences to Rushdie and his family.

“The company strongly condemns any form of threat, violence or intimidation when opinions, beliefs and thoughts might differ,” the statement said.

Rushdie went into hiding in 1989, shortly after the publication of his novel The Satanic Verses. The book, which contained fictionalised depictions of the Prophet Muhammad, offended many Muslims and resulted in a fatwa, or religious edict, from Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the supreme leader of Iran, who urged Muslims to kill the author.

In 1998, the country’s president said Iran no longer supported the edict.

As Rushdie prepared to speak at the Chautauqua Institution, a man – later identified by police as Hadi Matar, 24, of New Jersey – stormed the stage and stabbed him. Matar has pleaded not guilty in the attack.

Rushdie remains in a hospital in Erie, Pennsylvania. On Sunday, his agent confirmed he had been taken off a ventilator and was able to talk, indicating signs of recovery.

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

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