Popular author JK Rowling, who wrote the famous Harry Potter series, has become the latest high profile writer to face a public death threat after the horrific Friday knife attack on Salman Rushdie at a New York speaking event, which has left the 75-year old on a ventilator fighting for this life.
Rowling had issued a tweet expressing solidarity with Rushdie as the world received news of the assassination attempt. "Horrifying news. Feeling very sick right now. Let him be ok," she had posted. But quickly after, an account identified as "Meer Asif Aziz" responded to Rowling: "Don't worry you are next."
Aziz's account had previously expressed support for Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Additionally when Rushdie's attacker was identified as 24-year-old Hadi Matar of New Jersey, the Aziz Twitter account hailed Matar as a "revolutionary Shia fighter".
Police are currently investigating any possible ties between the Iranian government or foreign entities and the knife attack on Rushdie, given especially the well-known decades long fatwa in place by the Ayatollah calling for his killing.
Rowling reached out to Twitter Support and soon after acknowledged that the police have become involved. Initially, she had received a message from Twitter saying the Aziz threat "did not violate the community guidelines." But later the account was frozen.
.@TwitterSupport These are your guidelines, right?— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) August 13, 2022
"Violence: You may not threaten violence against an individual or a group of people. We also prohibit the glorification of violence...
"Terrorism/violent extremism: You may not threaten or promote terrorism..." pic.twitter.com/BzM6WopzHa
So it appears Twitter only took action after Rowling and her followers kept up the pressure:
The email from Twitter read: 'After reviewing the available information, we determined that there were no violations of the Twitter rules in the content you reported. We appreciate your help and encourage you to reach out again in the future if you see any potential violations.'
The 57-year-old posted a screenshot of the response, commenting: 'These are your guidelines, right? "Violence: You may not threaten violence against an individual or a group of people. We also prohibit the glorification of violence... "Terrorism/violent extremism: You may not threaten or promote terrorism"...'
As for Rushdie, it's being reported that he's now able to speak, but could lose and eye and has suffered serious liver damage as well as nerve damage to his arm, after being stabbed up to ten times. His agent said Sunday he's been taken off the ventilator as the "road to recovery" begins.
Hadi Matar entered a plea of non-guilty during court proceedings on Saturday. Authorities have said he's been cooperative during questioning, but still haven't detailed the precise motive or if there were external terrorism links.