She mentioned Trump and freedom of speech in her speech at the PEN Literary Awards Gala

By Jessica Goodman
Updated May 17, 2016 at 04:59 PM EDT
Credit: David M. Benett/Getty Images

Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling made her feelings about Donald Trump clear when she said last year that Voldemort was “nowhere near as bad” as the Republican presidential candidate. But in a speech at the 2016 PEN Literary Awards Gala in New York on Monday, she defended Trump’s freedom of speech.

She referred to a 2015 petition to ban Trump from the U.K., which elicited cheers from the crowd at the National History Museum. Rowling cut the crowd off and said, “Now, 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.”

She continued, noting that if Trump wasn’t allowed to travel based on things he said, she would have “no moral grounds on which to argue that those offended by feminism or the right for transgender rights or universal suffrage should not oppress campaigners for those causes.”

Rowling had appeared at the PEN Literary Awards Gala to accept an award for her humanitarian work and made note of all freedoms in her speech. “If you seek the removal of freedoms from an opponent simply on the grounds that they have offended you, you have crossed a line to stand along tyrants who imprison, torture and kill on exactly the same justification.”

See her whole speech via PEN America.