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JK Rowling has slammed the BBC and its new director of sport Alex Kay-Jelski after he reportedly blocked Martina Navratilova on social media after he claimed she was not an expert on trans athletes.

The author branded Kay-Jelski "unbelievable" after he slammed the broadcaster's coverage of women's rights and gender issues, with tennis legend Martina Navratilova calling him "pathetic".

An article which he wrote about trans competitors in sport in 2019 for The Times was re-circulated online yesterday, and had previously claimed that while Navratilova was an "important" and "influential" voice on the issue, she and former Olympic swimmer Sharron Davies were not "experts".

The article also compared the idea of having separate categories for trans athletes with having "special categories for Jamaican sprinters and Ethiopian marathon runners".

He wrote: "She [Sharron Davies] and Martina Navratilova are important, influential voices who speak for many women on this topic. They, like most of us, are not experts though.

"And while it's important to hear and respect people's views, I disagree and worry a circus is being created out of something that a) is not a huge problem in sport and b) further marginalises totally unthreatening people and creates a narrative of fear around them.

"I also don't see evidence of this supposed crusade to obliterate women's sport. And in creating one, we are making a group of vulnerable people feel victimised when they've already been through hell.

"It has been suggested that they should compete in their own special category so there's no sporting advantage. What about special categories for Jamaican sprinters and Ethiopian marathon runners, whose genetics have been shown to give them an advantage over their rivals?

"Sounds mad doesn't it? Nasty, even. Indeed," which left self-proclaimed feminist Navratilova to respond and post on her X account: "This is pretty pathetic – never heard of this man, looked him up here and found myself blocked.

"Once again, good to know that men apparently know what women like myself and Sharron know about biology and sports etc. Just amazing to be this confident, no?"

The admission and interaction caught the attention of the Harry Potter author who penned in response: "I'd say it's unbelievable for a man in his position to say these things at all, let alone block you.

"And yet, given the shameful state of the BBC's reporting on the women's rights/gender issue, it's utterly predictable."

GB News has contacted the BBC for a comment.

According to the Daily Mail, a source at the BBC claimed the broadcaster would not comment on Mr Kay-Jelski's work for other organisations. They added he had a job to do at the BBC and he would be focused on that.


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Rowling's involvement comes after she recently admitted she "regrets" not airing views on trans debate "sooner" as she admits loved ones "begged" her not to speak about it.

She recently wrote a new essay which will feature in The Women Who Wouldn't Wheesht, an upcoming book on Scotland's women's rights battle, with an extract published in The Times reading: "I'd come to believe that the socio-political movement insisting 'trans women are women' was neither kind nor tolerant.

"But in fact profoundly misogynistic, regressive, dangerous in some of its objectives and nakedly authoritarian in its tactics. I believe that what is being done to troubled young people in the name of gender identity ideology is, indeed, a terrible medical scandal.

"I believe we’re witnessing the greatest assault of my lifetime on the rights our foremothers thought they’d guaranteed for all women. Ultimately, I spoke up because I’d have felt ashamed for the rest of my days if I hadn’t. If I feel any regret at all, it’s that I didn’t speak far sooner."

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