gillian phillip

Gillian Philip (pictured), a best-selling children's author, has been sacked after putting out a tweet with the hashtag #IStandWithJKRowling, amid the Harry Potter author's transgender row.
A bestselling children's author has been sacked after expressing support for fellow writer J. K. Rowling in the bitter row over transgender rights.

In the latest example of 'cancel culture', novelist Gillian Philip was last week jettisoned from her role writing titles for a major publishing company.

It came after the writer, who has penned a popular series of books for eight-to-12-year-olds, added the hashtag #IStandWithJKRowling to her Twitter handle.

Her move sparked a torrent of online abuse and emails to her employer Working Partners, a 'fiction packaging' firm which devises series for publishing houses and commissions authors to write them.

Ms Philip, 56, had expressed her support for the Harry Potter creator after she retweeted an article referring to 'people who menstruate' and questioned why the story did not use the word 'women'.

Ms Rowling was subjected to trolling and accused of being 'transphobic'.

However, Ms Philip - one of several authors writing under the name Erin Hunter on popular animal fantasy series including Warrior Cats, Survivors and Bravelands - found herself sacked for her support of Ms Rowling.

After Ms Philip received sexualised abuse and deaths threats from the trans lobby, she tweeted 'Bring it on, homophobes and lesbian-haters' - which only inflamed the situation.

Within 24 hours, James Noble, managing editor of Working Partners, replied to the barrage of complaints saying: 'The worlds created by Erin Hunter are meant to be inclusive for all readers and we want to let you know that Gillian Philip will no longer be writing any Erin Hunter novels.'

The decision was last night condemned by Toby Young, founder of the Free Speech Union, who said: 'Every day, people's livelihoods are being destroyed and their names dragged through the mud because they've said something others disagree with.

'Anyone who challenges the view of these activists is immediately targeted for cancellation.'

Erin Hunter books are published by HarperCollins, which was also targeted by online protesters.

Ms Philip has also written as Gabriella Poole for the Darke Academy series and Adam Blade for the Beast Quest books.

In a statement last night, she said: 'I am disappointed that the hard work and professional attitude I have brought to my work for HarperCollins and for Working Partners counted for nothing in the face of an abusive mob of anonymous Twitter trolls.

'It is concerning that my concerns about women's legal rights and spaces have been presented as "transphobia", and that this accusation has been allowed to stand by my former employers.'

Chris Snowdon, managing director of Working Partners, said: 'Erin Hunter is not a single person but a diverse team of creatives and writers.

'We recently became aware that Gillian Philip had associated the Erin Hunter pen-name with her personal views on Twitter, thus associating them with the whole collective.

'In light of this situation, the decision was taken to no longer work with Gillian Philip.

'The decision taken was not in direct response to the nature of Gillian's personally expressed views.'

HarperCollins UK distanced itself from the row, saying that it 'does not have a contract with this author' - only an arrangement with Working Partners.