JK Rowling tells Twitter ‘life coaches’: Don’t shame people not learning new skills in coronavirus lockdown

JK Rowling has criticised social media influencers for pressuring followers to learn a new skill during the coronavirus lockdown.

The Harry Potter author said on Twitter that, for many, simply "getting through something is more than enough".

"If you’re a ‘life coach’", she wrote, "who’s on here implying people are losers if they aren’t learning a new skill/building a brand while on lockdown, maybe stop.

"People have challenges you know nothing about."

The 54-year-old has previously spoken about her experience with depression as a single mother struggling to find work.

"Implying that people are lazy or unmotivated because they aren’t knocking out masterpieces daily isn’t inspiration, it’s a form of shaming," she said later.

"Allowing ourselves to feel what we feel, and acknowledging that we have good reason to feel that way is a better route back to good mental health than beating ourselves up for not being superhuman."

With the success of the Harry Potter franchise, Rowling has become one of the richest women in the UK. As of 2019, Forbes estimated her net worth to be around $92m (£74.7m).

But, in 2008, Rowling said in an interview with an Edinburgh University student magazine that she had suffered with thoughts of ending her own life.

The author claimed her regular GP was away when she needed help, and that a stand-in doctor had failed to help her.

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"She said: ‘If you ever feel a bit low, come back and speak to the practice nurse’ and dismissed me. We’re talking suicidal thoughts here; we’re not talking ‘I’m a bit miserable’."

It isn’t the first time the author’s tweets have gathered attention.

In December, Rowling tweeted her support for a researcher who lost an employment tribunal case for using "offensive and exclusionary" language on Twitter.

Rowling tweeted about Maya Forstater, whose contract at an anti-poverty think-tank was not renewed after a series of transphobic tweets and retweets

Ms Forstater attempted to sue her former employer, who said her tweets were not in keeping with its values and had upset members of staff.

But the ruling judge in the employment tribunal concluded that Forstater did not have the right to ignore or deny the legal rights of transgender people, and said her tweets were "incompatible with human dignity and fundamental rights of others".

Rowling sent out a tweet in support of the researcher soon after the judgment.

"Dress however you please. Call yourself whatever you like. Sleep with any consenting adult who’ll have you.

"Live your best life in peace and security. But force women out of their jobs for stating that sex is real?" she wrote.

:: Anyone feeling emotionally distressed or suicidal can call Samaritans for help on 116 123 or email jo@samaritans.org in the UK. In the US, call the Samaritans branch in your area or 1 (800) 273-TALK.

(c) Sky News 2020: JK Rowling tells Twitter ‘life coaches’: Don’t shame people not learning new skills in coronavirus lockdown


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