Police Investigating Death Threat to JK Rowling After Salman Rushdie Attack

By Alexander Zhang
Alexander Zhang
Alexander Zhang
August 14, 2022 Updated: August 14, 2022

British police said they are investigating a report of an online threat made to JK Rowling after she reacted to the stabbing of author Salman Rushdie in New York State.

After the Harry Potter author said on Twitter she felt “very sick” after hearing the news of the stabbing and hoped Rushdie would “be OK,” a Twitter user responded by saying, “Don’t worry you are next.”

After sharing screenshots of the threatening post, Rowling said, “To all sending supportive messages: thank you Police are involved (were already involved on other threats).”

A Police Scotland spokeswoman said, “We have received a report of an online threat being made and officers are carrying out enquiries.”

The same Twitter account, which is located in Pakistan, had also posted messages praising the man who attacked Rushdie on Aug. 12.

The threatening post to Rowling appeared to have been taken down by the morning of Aug. 14.

Freedom of Expression Under Attack

Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD), the entertainment company behind the film adaptions of the Harry Potter series, said they “strongly condemn” the threats made against the author.

In a statement, a spokesman said: “We stand with her and all the authors, storytellers and creators who bravely express their creativity and opinions.

“WBD believes in freedom of expression, peaceful discourse and supporting those who offer their views in the public arena.

“Our thoughts are with Sir Salman Rushdie and his family following the senseless act of violence in New York.

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

salman rushdie
Author Salman Rushdie at the Blue Sofa at the 2017 Frankfurt Book Fair in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, on Oct. 12, 2017. (Hannelore Foerster/Getty Images)

‘Pre-Planned’ Attack

Rushdie, 75, whose novel “The Satanic Verses,” published in 1988, drew death threats from Iran’s leader and other Islamists, was giving a lecture at the Chautauqua Institution in Western New York when an attacker rushed onto the stage and stabbed him multiple times.

Rushdie’s agent Andrew Wylie said the novelist had suffered severed nerves in one arm, damage to his liver, and would likely lose an eye.

But on Sunday Wylie confirmed that Rushdie had been taken off his ventilator and had started talking.

The man accused of stabbing him, 24-year-old Hadi Matar of Fairview, New Jersey, pleaded not guilty on Saturday to charges of attempted murder and assault, in what a prosecutor called a “pre-planned” crime.

Matar was born in the United States to parents who had emigrated from Lebanon. His social media posts suggest he is sympathetic to the causes of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard, according to U.S. media reports.

PA Media contributed to this report.