EXCLUSIVE: The BBC has apologized after suggesting that J.K. Rowling’s remarks about transgender women could put her on the wrong side of a new hate crime law in Scotland.

In an April 2 story that centered on the Harry Potter author, BBC Scotland reported that the Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Act 2021 means that “derogatory comments” about transgender identity will become a criminal offense.

In a correction on the BBC website, the corporation said: “This was inaccurate and we should have referred to the Act creating a new crime where it is an offence if someone communicates material or behaves in a threatening or abusive manner with the intention of “stirring up hatred” based on these protected characteristics.”

The BBC added: “We apologise for any confusion caused and have reminded our teams of the importance of accuracy in our output.”

Police Scotland received complaints about Rowling after she described transgender women as men, but said no action would be taken. She welcomed the decision, adding: “If they go after any woman for simply calling a man a man, I’ll repeat that woman’s words and they can charge us both at once.”

It is the third time the BBC has apologized for coverage of Rowling and her views on transgender rights. The BBC said discussions about the writer, which featured on BBC Radio Scotland and Radio 4 last year, fell short of editorial standards after she was accused of being transphobic without sufficient challenge.

The issue was raised in a nine-page document on “reporting sex and gender” circulated to the BBC newsroom late last year. Obtained by Deadline, the briefing notes advised BBC journalists and production teams that “care is needed” when people are labeled “transphobic” and the term should be interrogated during on-air debate.

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