The Sun under fire for publishing 'unacceptable' interview with JK Rowling's ex-husband

JK Rowling.
JK Rowling. Photo credit: Getty.

British tabloid The Sun is under fire for publishing an interview with JK Rowling's ex-husband in which he says he's "not sorry" for slapping her.

In a blog post on Wednesday discussing her views on sex and gender issues, Rowling said her first marriage was "violent". In response, Jorge Arantes, who was married to the author between 1992 and 1995, admitted to slapping her on the night she left him, but said there was no "sustained abuse". He hasn't read the blog post and doesn't care, the paper says.

"I slapped Joanne - but there was not sustained abuse. I'm not sorry for slapping her."

He made that admission in an "exclusive" The Sun story published on Friday headlined: "I slapped JK and I'm not sorry: Sun confronts her 1st husband".

The online headline as of Saturday says: "Ex's sick taunt: JK Rowling's abusive first husband admits he slapped her but says 'I'm not sorry'". 

The newspaper is now under fire for publishing the front-page interview, with The Guardian reporting a letter was sent by England's independent domestic violence commissioner, Nicole Jacobs,  to The Sun's editor, Victoria Newton.

It said it was "unacceptable that The Sun has chosen to repeat and magnify the voice of someone who openly admits to violence against a partner".

"The media can play a vital role in shining a light on this issue and bringing it out of the shadows, but articles such as this one instead feed the shame that so many survivors will feel every day, minimising their experiences and allowing perpetrators to continue to abuse without fear of consequence."

Jacobs also reportedly said the article came during a "particularly difficult and dangerous time" for victims due to lockdown conditions forcing many to stay with their abusers. 

Others to criticise the paper include Refuge director of operations Jane Keeper, and high-profile Labour MP Jess Phillips. 

The newspaper has said it didn't intend to "'enable' or 'glorify'" domestic abuse. 

"Our intention was to expose a perpetrator's total lack of remorse. Our sympathies are always with the victims.

"The Sun has a long history of standing up for abused women and campaigning against domestic violence".

It said the newspaper was "disgusted" by Rowling's ex-husband's comments.

The tabloid stresses at the bottom of the online article that it did not pay Arantes for his comments.