The new ad campaign from the New York times by Droga5 with Becky, Lianna, Vera, Yassmin, and Jordan, has come under fire for "chilling" line referring to JK Rowling. The line is in Lianna's ad, where it reads in full:
Lianna is a harmony of flavors. A week in crossword land. Taking a swipe at love, or sex, or something. Breaking the binary. The magic of numbers. The big impact of a small hobby. Queer love in color. Heritage in rich hues. What does horror taste like? Imagining Harry Potter without its creator. Alter egos that bark. The joy of getting lost. Seduced by charisma. Battling over pleasure. Fighting bias in tech. How to talk through the hard stuff.
There was a video ad in the DC subway today. I am going to post some stills from this ad, and you will try to guess what company is advertising. Fourth photo is the reveal.
— T. Greer (@Scholars_Stage) February 17, 2022
In a now viral tweet thread, T Greer shows with photographs each line in the digital billboard, and the reveal. The replies are already in the hundreds. Some are seeing the line as a thinly veiled threat, as JK Rowling has received thousands of them ever since she came out for women's and homosexual rights in a tweet two years ago.
"If sex isn’t real, there’s no same-sex attraction," Rowling tweeted. "If sex isn’t real, the lived reality of women globally is erased. I know and love trans people, but erasing the concept of sex removes the ability of many to meaningfully discuss their lives. It isn’t hate to speak the truth."
Rowlings expanded on her views on sex and gender issues in a blog post, and garnered even more threats.
Many of the replies were horrified that a campaign for "independent journalism" is effectively leading more abuse to Rowling's door. Here are a few.
shocking condescension. we are trying to imagine the
N Y Times without its marketing dept., without its editors, without its owners, without its Op-Ed columnists & without its loyal subscriber base. https://t.co/r7oTAkafSe
— Joyce Carol Oates (@JoyceCarolOates) February 18, 2022
That first still is pretty violent. How on earth does NYT think erasing a woman isn't fundamentally violent, esp in a work full of VAWG and at a time of inflamed feeling around this whole subject. It's the same old deep misogyny under the veil of progressiveness.
— Tutting Maud (@TuttingM) February 18, 2022
This makes me physically ill.
They’ve been dragging her through the streets.
She said that women are real.
Now we see how all of us will be treated if we agree.
it’s chilling. #waronwomen
— Austenofcourse (@Austen12341) February 18, 2022
@nytimes nothing like writing powerful, successful women out of history and stealing their creation. So progressive! (sarcasm)
— Ann♀️💛🤍💜 🏳️🌈🇺🇸 (@Anne_on_gd) February 18, 2022
Many of the replies imagined The New York Times without its subscriber base, and people shared screenshots of unsubscribing to the ad. Which is the opposite goal of the campaign.
The backlash against the campaign has garnered a lot of free press, however. So maybe that was the intention? Here are a few headlines.
The Spectator: The New York Times takes aim at J.K. Rowling
Fox News: New York Times criticized for ad campaign 'imagining Harry Potter without its creator'
ABC 7 news: NYT ad equates 'Imagining Harry Potter Without Its Creator' to 'independent journalism'
WHO DID THAT! Too funny.