Probe into charity’s JK Rowling abuse tweet

JK Rowling backs Better Together. Picture Ian Rutherford
JK Rowling backs Better Together. Picture Ian Rutherford
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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.

Former first minister Henry McLeish said he was appalled at the online abuse which had become a feature of the independence debate.

He said: “There is no justification for this behaviour and it does the country a disservice. For the next three months give it a rest. Get out on the doorsteps and off your computers.

“I love politics and love my country. We have just celebrated the anniversary of D-Day and retaining our democracy and freedom. Seventy years on we don’t need cyberspace filled with personal bile and poison.”

Scottish Green leader Patrick Harvie, who is part of the pro-independence campaign, was one of the first to condemn the Dignity Project post. He tweeted: “A comment like that is a disgrace to the Yes cause, and to the cause of social justice.”

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.”

Ms Rowling’s donation is by far the biggest yet for the pro-union campaign.

In a blog she said: “My hesitance at embracing independence has nothing to do with lack of belief in Scotland’s remarkable people or its achievements. The simple truth is that Scotland is subject to the same 21st century pressures as the rest of the world.

“The more I listen to the Yes campaign, the more I worry about its minimisation and even denial of risks.”