BBC media editor Amol Rajan ended up facing a tidal wave of censure after including JK Rowling in this year's Russel Prize list that he compiles annually.
According to the Daily Mail, what earned Rowling a place on said "good-writing prize list" was her essay "Reasons for speaking out on sex and gender issues" which "sparked outrage when it was published in June".
"I take absolutely no view whatsoever on the issues that she raises", Rajan wrote. "I do take an issue on abuse and trolling, and Rowling has achieved the inglorious honour of topping many a league table for those. The deluge of hatred that she faced before writing this blog made it brave, and it was nothing compared to what came after".
Yet although Rajan also acknowledged that Rowling "offended many people" in "a blog about the transgender debate", adding that "offence is the price of free speech", a number of social media users did not seem particularly pleased with his choice and proceeded to give him a piece of their mind online.
👎 Absolutely terrible!— 🌻 SamⒶntha 🌻 (@I_make_music) December 21, 2020
How can you praise a transphobic piece?
Also, "the transgender debate"? pic.twitter.com/HtNV3ike0I
If you didn't agree with JK Rowling, you would have seen that piece for the damaging, thoughtless, hateful tract it was. Same goes for Moore. These people aren't being "silenced". They're not "brave". They're harmful. It's not OK.— Felix O’Brien (@adamfelixobrien) December 21, 2020
If you agree with them, say it with your chest.
re JKR— David Hawkins (@dnhhawkins) December 21, 2020
"I take no view whatsoever". Inaction is complicity. Bad enough.
But then the written endorsement of a transphobe for suffering the consequence to her hateful actions.
I am shocked and disappointed that such a platform has been abused to idolise her.
"I'm not taking sides on the content, it's about the bravery." Why give it to Rowling then? Give it to a Covid denier instead, they're braver, they got much more hostility than she ever got for talking dangerous nonsense.— Keir Hardie (@scatterkeir) December 21, 2020
A spokesman for the BBC also said that Rajan "repeatedly made clear he was not taking a view on the subject of JK Rowling's essay and acknowledged the severity of offence that some people had taken to what she'd written".
"He did not detract from that when he objectively praised the writing style, her honesty in talking about her own experiences of domestic and sexual abuse, and the bravery required to express a viewpoint knowing it will lead to further online abuse", the spokesman added.
The Russel Award is named after famous philosopher Bertrand Russel and "seeks to 'celebrate journalism and writing that honours the intellectual and moral virtues Russell's prose exemplified'," as the newspaper puts it.
The author of the Harry Potter saga came under fire in June after posting controversial tweets about the transgender community, with her stance causing fans and stars such as Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, and Eddie Redmayne to speak out against her.