Author J.K. Rowling and journalist Malcolm Gladwell slammed a co-signer who apologized for taking part in the open letter combatting "cancel culture."
On Tuesday, Harper's Magazine published a piece signed by roughly 150 liberal writers, professors, and activists voicing their concerns about the current state of public discourse.
However, some signers who took part in that open letter are distancing themselves from it as it drew major social media attention. One of them, author and trans activist Jennifer Finney Boylan, expressed her regret for including her name in the letter without knowing the others who were listed.
"I did not know who else had signed that letter," Boylan tweeted. "I thought I was endorsing a well meaning, if vague, message against internet shaming. I did know Chomsky, Steinem, and Atwood were in, and I thought, good company. The consequences are mine to bear. I am so sorry."
Boylan's tweet may have alluded to the inclusion of the "Harry Potter" author, who has faced backlash in recent weeks for remarks defending the concept of biological sex, which critics say were transphobic.
Rowling took notice of the tweet and knocked her literary colleague.
"You’re still following me, Jennifer. Be sure to publicly repent of your association with Goody Rowling before unfollowing and volunteer to operate the ducking stool next time, as penance," Rowling tweeted.
Gladwell also saw Boylan's tweet and defended the letter.
"I signed the Harpers letter because there were lots of people who also signed the Harpers letter whose views I disagreed with. I thought that was the point of the Harpers letter," Gladwell wrote.
Rowling and Gladwell, along with New York Times op-ed staff editor Bari Weiss, political activist Noam Chomsky, and feminist icon Gloria Steinem, were attached to the piece titled "A Letter on Justice and Open Debate" that was published Tuesday in Harper's Magazine.
"Our cultural institutions are facing a moment of trial," the letter begins. "Powerful protests for racial and social justice are leading to overdue demands for police reform, along with wider calls for greater equality and inclusion across our society, not least in higher education, journalism, philanthropy, and the arts.
"But this needed reckoning has also intensified a new set of moral attitudes and political commitments that tend to weaken our norms of open debate and toleration of differences in favor of ideological conformity. As we applaud the first development, we also raise our voices against the second," it continued.
While the letter calls President Trump a "real threat to democracy," it also warns that the resistance should not "harden into its own brand of dogma or coercion," insisting that an "intolerant climate" has plagued both sides of the aisle.
"The free exchange of information and ideas, the lifeblood of a liberal society, is daily becoming more constricted," the letter explains. "While we have come to expect this on the radical right, censoriousness is also spreading more widely in our culture: an intolerance of opposing views, a vogue for public shaming and ostracism, and the tendency to dissolve complex policy issues in a blinding moral certainty. We uphold the value of robust and even caustic counter-speech from all quarters. But it is now all too common to hear calls for swift and severe retribution in response to perceived transgressions of speech and thought."