Compromised dignity

The Edinburgh Evening News has more on the abuse of J K Rowling and in particular that contributed by “The Dignity Project.”

CHARITY regulators are investigating after a voluntary group appeared to post a Twitter message abusing JK Rowling over her £1 million donation to the No side in the independence referendum.

The tweet, from the account of The Dignity Project, read: “What a #bitch after we gave her shelter in our city when she was a single mum.”

It was one of many strongly worded posts attacking the Capital-based writer for supporting the Better Together campaign.

A later statement posted on the charity’s website claimed its account had been hacked. It said: “We are not responsible for any tweets that have been sent. As a charity we do not take any political stance and our opinion is people are free to donate to whoever they choose.”

But other Twitter users said the message had been auto-posted from the personal Facebook account of the charity’s founder, William Wood.

Oh dear, naughty, it turns out The Dignity Project was telling an untruth about that tweet. Not much dignity there, is there – call J K Rowling a bitch and an ungrateful scrounger for having an opinion you don’t like, then pretend it wasn’t you what said it. Booo.

According to its website, The Dignity Project, based in Belgrave Terrace, Corstorphine, was set up by William and Barbara McDonald-Wood and is linked to projects in East Africa, including a nursery school, a primary school and a computer training centre.

The Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator said it was aware that a number of concerns had been raised about the tweet. It added: “We are making urgent inquiries into the matter and will be seeking further information from the charity trustees.”

That’s interesting really, because here in the US it’s become normalized to call women bitches in anger or contempt or both. The reaction to this charity seems to indicate that it’s not altogether normalized in the UK. I’m a little surprised by that.



  1. jenBPhillips says

    Perhaps it’s just not normalized when directed against a national treasure. I think I’d have to see instances of this kind of slur being called out even when applied to less famous people to be convinced otherwise.

  2. Al Dente says

    The Dignity Project didn’t help Rowling or any other Britons, so the tweet was lying about that as well.

  3. says

    But other Twitter users said the message had been auto-posted from the personal Facebook account of the charity’s founder, William Wood.

    This is probably my lack of using Twitter but how does “other Twitter users said…etc” rebut the “We were hacked”? I followed the link and read the story, but there is no explanation of why I should give any credence to these “other Twitter users”. Is there something on a tweet that says where it came from?

  4. latsot says

    I suspect jenBPhillips is right. It might also be the case that people are reacting to the unfairness more than to the epithet itself. Perhaps people are not arguing that she’s not a bitch, but that she’s not a bitch for that reason.

  5. Jill says

    I suspect that the fuss has been caused by the source of the comments. An anonymous tweet is easily dismissed as an example of trolling, a tweet from a registered charity less so.
    Anonymous or individual misogyny – fine.
    Institutional misogyny – ??

    Abusive tweets from individuals are frequently dismissed as the ‘background noise’ that (female) internet users must put up with.
    A tweet from a charitable organisation however…

  6. AsqJames says

    “I think it’s a mixture of several things.
    1) It’s OK to call some (or even most) women “bitches”, but lot’s of people like Jo Rowling so it’s wrong to call her a bitch. It’s not the misogyny, it’s the attack on a popular person.
    2) The fact it came from a charity’s official account. Individuals call women bitches all too often, and all too often it causes hardly a ripple. For an organisation to do so is maybe seen a little differently (not least by those who’d previously backed that organisation I suspect). Also charities have regulations (and a half-decent regulator) which allows actual sanctions to be imposed, the actions of individuals are subject only to condemnation or the much looser (and rightly so) restrictions of civil/criminal law.
    3) The condemnation has come from both “Yes” and “No” supporters and is almost universal, so the media and the authorities (the Charity Commission) can weigh in with little fear of pushback. Maybe I’m growing too cynical, but I think public bodies in the UK (e.g. the Charity Commission) too often gauge the public mood about an issue and only then pursue the majority and/or establishment agenda rather than assessing facts and consistently applying principles.

  7. screechymonkey says

    Clearly they could have avoided all this fuss by calling Rowling another word for women that I’m told is totally acceptable in Scotland.

  8. says

    ajb47, it is common for twitter accounts to be linked to various other social media accounts so that a post on one will be automatically reposted on the others. Presumably some people saw the original on one of William Wood’s personal social media accounts and concluded that he has an autotweet connection set up to the organisation’s account, as so many people in positions with various companies/organisations do.

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