Oxfam’s Pride Cartoon Controversy Ignites Fiery Debate Over Alleged J.K. Rowling Depiction

by | Jun 14, 2023 | CROWDSOURCE™ | 0 comments

The charitable world has been rocked by Oxfam’s Pride Cartoon Controversy, a scandal that has ignited fiery debates across social media platforms. Renowned for its anti-poverty work, Oxfam now faces the backlash of critics who believe the organization has targeted J.K. Rowling, the esteemed Harry Potter author, in a contentious cartoon released during Pride Month. As the controversy intensifies, the UK’s Charity Commission is poised to investigate, bringing Oxfam and its questionable cartoon into the global spotlight.

Just like clockwork for the holy month of pride, Oxfam, a charity previously renowned for its work in combating poverty, finds itself in the midst of a brewing scandal. According to a report from the MailOnline, the UK’s Charity Commission might initiate an investigation into the charity following the release of a contentious cartoon for Pride Month. This animation was met with backlash for seemingly portraying J.K. Rowling, the acclaimed Harry Potter author, as TERF (Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminist).

The controversial cartoon, which surfaced on Oxfam’s social media, featured three menacing figures including a woman donned in a TERF badge, bearing a striking resemblance to Rowling. Despite Oxfam’s claim that the likeness was unintended, critics argue this portrayal potentially marginalizes those aligning with gender-critical views, similar to those of the famous author.

As the fallout from the cartoon’s release continues, an ex-employee of Oxfam alleged they had been coerced to leave the organization due to their support for Rowling and advocacy for her books to remain in Oxfam’s bookstores.

Oxfam International, in response to the outcry, defended the release of the cartoon, advocating for Pride Month and LGBTQ+ rights with the hashtag #ProtectThePride. Interestingly, the branch that created the video is outside the jurisdiction of the UK’s Charity Commission. A spokesperson for the Charity Commission, when approached by the Mail Online, stated that the body was evaluating the situation related to Oxfam.

The scepticism surrounding Oxfam’s insistence that the cartoon character was not based on any specific individual lingers despite the charity issuing a revised version of the cartoon. Maya Forstater, co-founder of Sex Matters, expressed her shock and concern over the video, pointing out its potentially harmful implications for charity volunteers and employees who share Rowling’s views.

The cartoon character’s distinctive features that mimic Rowling’s style — a green dress she wore once, her hairstyle, and a memorial poppy replaced with a TERF badge — further fueled critics’ assertions. The backlash was fast and fierce, with calls for boycotting Oxfam coming from philosophers Kathleen Stock, Twitter users, and supporters of the author.

In the wake of the criticism, Oxfam withdrew the video shortly after being contacted by the Mail Online. In a statement, Oxfam acknowledged their misstep and stressed their commitment to all individuals’ rights to make personal decisions and live free from discrimination and violence. They apologized for any offence caused and insisted there was no intent to target any particular individuals.

Falana Films, a Bangalore-based company that produced the video, is yet to comment on the controversy. The animation focuses on what the charity says are “the struggles of LGBTQIA+ individuals worldwide who are denied basic safety and are targeted by hate groups both online and offline”.

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