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J.K. Rowling defends Donald Trump and free speech at the PEN Literary Awards [video]

J.K. Rowling may have once compared Donald Trump to “Voldemort” and his spokeswoman Katrina Pierson to a “death eater,” but the author of the popular “Harry Potter” series of books shut down an audience member at the 2016 PEN Literary Awards in New York City Monday night for applauding a call to ban Trump from traveling to the U.K.

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“His freedom to speak defends my freedom to call him a bigot,” she reminded the group dedicated to the protection of “free expression”:

Well said.

Full transcript of the exchange here via the WSJ.

Intolerance of alternative viewpoints is spreading to places that make me, a moderate and a liberal, most uncomfortable. Only last year, we saw an online petition to ban Donald Trump from entry to the U.K. It garnered half a million signatures.

[An audience member claps. Rowling holds up her hand.]

Just a moment.

I find almost everything that Mr. Trump says objectionable. I consider him offensive and bigoted. But he has my full support to come to my country and be offensive and bigoted there. His freedom to speak protects my freedom to call him a bigot. His freedom guarantees mine. Unless we take that absolute position without caveats or apologies, we have set foot upon a road with only one destination. If my offended feelings can justify a travel ban on Donald Trump, I have no moral ground on which to argue that those offended by feminism or the fight for transgender rights or universal suffrage should not oppress campaigners for those causes. If you seek the removal of freedoms from an opponent simply on them grounds that they have offended you eat, you have crossed the line to stand alongside tyrants who imprison, torture and kill on exactly the same justification.

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Watch her entire speech here:

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