Her final year at the prestigious Bristol Old Vic Theatre School saw Georgia Frost crowned winner of the coveted Alan Bates Award at a glittering ceremony in London’s Covent Garden.
The accolade, for the country’s most promising drama student, was presented by Noma Dumezweni, who played Hermione Granger in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, the stage sequel to the Potter novels, in the West End and Broadway.
Hers was the role made famous on the big screen by Emma Watson. Miss Frost was the only woman in the final of the competition in 2017.
‘As a woman it’s hard for us,’ she said as she collected her gong. ‘We are on our way to equality but we need to keep pushing and having this network, and having this support, will be the thing that will lift me up and help me go far.’
Four years on, and the irony is almost beyond parody. For this is the very same Georgia Frost who this week appeared in a picture taken outside the Edinburgh home of Harry Potter author JK Rowling.
Her final year at the prestigious Bristol Old Vic Theatre School saw Georgia Frost (pictured) crowned winner of the coveted Alan Bates Award at a glittering ceremony in London’s Covent Garden
Frost was standing next to fellow ‘trans activists’, ‘drag king’ Richard Energy (real name Janina Smith) and drag queen Holly Stars.
The picture, which clearly showed Rowling’s address, was posted on social media.
Its effect? To stir up online abuse of the author, who has found herself accused of transphobia ever since she mocked an online article in June 2020 which used the words ‘people who menstruate’ instead of ‘women’.
The trio, whom Rowling has accused of trying to ‘intimidate’ her for ‘speaking up for women’s sex-based rights’, were carrying placards with the messages ‘Trans Liberation Now’, ‘Trans Rights Are Human Rights’, and ‘Don’t Be A Cissy’, a pun on ‘cis’, a term meaning someone whose gender identity corresponds with their sex at birth.
Rowling is very much a ‘Cissy’, to use the trans vernacular, voicing her views on the importance of biological sex, arguing that the activity of a tiny minority was leading to the ‘erasure of women’.
Speaking up for women, in other words, in the same way Miss Frost did during her acceptance speech.
In the eyes of the hate mob that now makes Rowling — and others like her who are targets of the ‘cancel culture’ zealots — fair game for almost any kind of abuse.
Even Frost, though — who has appeared in BBC shows — surely couldn’t have imagined targeting (hounding, many would say) the author of Harry Potter a few years after receiving a prize from an actress acclaimed for her role as Hermione Granger.
Frost, 29, and her companions appear to have been very careful not to overstep the mark, despite identifying Rowling’s home.
Presumably they knew that breaching someone’s privacy is not a criminal offence and it would probably be up to the author to pursue a civil case against them, which was unlikely.
So they adopted a cowardly tactic known as ‘doxing’ — publishing personal information to enable others to take action. The hate mob duly responded.
Rowling’s agent did not wish to disclose whether any of the threats and vile insults she was subjected to were sent directly to her home.
But within hours of her address being tweeted by the three trans activists, the sluice gates had burst open.
Rowling is very much a ‘Cissy’, to use the trans vernacular, voicing her views on the importance of biological sex, arguing that the activity of a tiny minority was leading to the ‘erasure of women’
The vast majority of the trolls hid behind anonymised profiles and sometimes substituted letters with other characters in the most offensive words to avoid being removed by search engines such as ‘D!e’ (Die), ‘R*pe’ (Rape), and ‘K!ll’ (Kill).
Almost all the vitriol sent to Rowling’s online account has been deleted.
The Mail found this, however: ‘D!E ALREADY FFS (for f**** sake).
Other examples, which poured in from all over the world, are still on Twitter groups set up specifically to target Rowling, including: ‘Rot in Hell’, ‘JK Rowling is a liar’, ‘JK Rowling is trash, ‘JK Rowling stands for… j k*ll rowling,’ and ‘jk Rowling I am about to dress like myself to K!ll you’.
Much of the onslaught is unprintable. Rowling contacted the police, who said in a statement that they were aware of the incident last Friday and ‘inquiries were continuing’.
Frost, Smith and Stars said they stood by their actions but revealed on social media the following day that ‘while we stand by the photo, since posting it we have received an overwhelming amount of serious and transphobic messages so we have decided to take down the photo’.
Being reduced to the level of the mob, whatever the circumstances, is never advisable.
Nevertheless, it would be difficult to find a more glaring example of hypocrisy than their self-serving statement painting themselves as the real victims of this disturbing affair.
It was the latest episode in a sustained and hysterical campaign of harassment and abuse against Rowling that began 15 months ago when she sardonically pointed out that there was such a thing as a ‘woman’ after an article had referred simply to ‘people who menstruate’.
She subsequently wrote a carefully-argued, 3,600-word essay posted on her website explaining her reasons for speaking out on sex and gender issues and the dangers posed by a change in the law to allow people to switch gender without a medical diagnosis, which critics claimed would open up female-only spaces such as changing rooms and refuges to anybody who claims to be a woman.
The Government has ditched the amendment to the Gender Recognition Act but the Scottish Government is pushing ahead with the controversial reform.
Since voicing her views Rowling, 56 — who had an abusive first marriage and suffered a serious sexual assault as a young woman — has been singled out by what one commentator called ‘the mob of the perpetually outraged’.
‘I have to assume [they] thought doxing me would intimidate me out of speaking up for women’s sex-based rights,’ Rowling wrote after the most recent incident.
‘They should have reflected on the fact that I’ve now received so many death threats I could paper the house with them and I haven’t stopped speaking out.
Perhaps, I’m just throwing it out there, the best way to prove your movement isn’t a threat to women, is to stop harassing and threatening us.’
The backlash has been unrelenting. Rowling was tweeted by someone who wrote: ‘I wish you a nice pipe bomb in mailbox.’
Some former fans have burned her books. Four authors resigned from her literary agency.
Rowling (pictured in 2019) defended herself against three trans protestors who took photos in front of her home, in Edinburgh
The children’s book author was accused of being transphobic in June 2020 after she criticized an opinion piece that used the term ‘people who menstruate’ instead of women, and tweeted about biological sex
She faced a barrage of criticism from the stars of the Harry Potter films, who owe her their careers.
Oxfam even withdrew a board game celebrating ‘inspirational women’ featuring Rowling after becoming a target for activists.
The perversity in all this is that her rags-to-riches story, a single mother surviving on benefits while she wrote the first Potter book, which became the biggest selling series ever, is an inspirational one and ought to be thoroughly in tune with liberal-minded Britain.
But not to the likes of Georgia Frost, Richard Energy and Holly Stars who are in the vanguard, critics claim, of a kind of new McCarthyism.
They were touring Edinburgh as part of Stars’s show Death Drop, billed as ‘a Dragatha Christie murder-mystery caper’, when they took time out to target Rowling.
In the picture tweeted on the ‘doorstep’ of Rowling’s home, Frost is almost unrecognisable from the polished photos of her on the website of her London agents or the glamorous young thespian at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, whose roll call of famous alumni includes Daniel Day-Lewis, Jeremy Irons and Olivia Colman.
Rowling’s agent did not wish to disclose whether any of the threats and vile insults she was subjected to were sent directly to her home
The three trans activists who protested outside JK Rowling’s home and shared her address online
Holly Stars, Georgia Frost and Richard Energy were the three activists that appeared outside JK Rowling’s home before sharing her address.
Stars is a popular drag queen with her own Amazon Prime series. She is also a stand-up comedian, comedy writer, cabaret host and seen as one of the UK’s most popular drag talents.
Stars is the writer and star of west end show Death Drop, currently embarking on its first UK tour and also produces and presents a monthly Soho cabaret.
She grew up in Crewe, where she attended St Thomas More Catholic High School ‘towards the tail end of the Aids crisis’.
Stars now balances her time living in Chelsea and Paris.
She said London is a ‘more tolerant’ place than Crewe, but added ‘there is still a lot of work to be done’ in the capital.
Janina Smith, who performs as Richard Energy, is one of the other activists.
Energy is a drag king and comedian who performs across London.
The performer has appeared in several contests and is considered a growing star in the scene.
Georgia Frost, the third activist, is an actress who has appeared in BBC productions including Casualty and sitcom The Other One.
Frost had a middle-class upbringing in the suburbs of Warrington, Cheshire, where she and her brother continued to live with their mother, a retired teacher, after their parents divorced.
She now lives in South-East London and has a wide range of stage and screen credits to her name, among them The Taming Of The Shrew at Shakespeare’s Globe and the BBC’s long-running Casualty.
Acting runs in her family; her brother is in a prime-time TV soap and her father is head of a leading institute for performing arts in the South-West.
He did not wish to comment on the controversy surrounding his daughter, saying only that ‘Georgia leads her own life’.
Fellow activist Richard Energy, who enjoyed a similar middle-class upbringing, was born Janina Smith in sedate Eastbourne, the daughter of a music teacher.
A graduate of the London Contemporary Dance School, acting credits include regional theatre and appearances at the Royal Albert Hall.
Audiences were introduced to ‘drag king’ Energy in January last year. His Facebook posts give an insight into the mindset of the militant transgender lobby and their contempt for JK Rowling.
In one, Energy, 33, suggested alternative reading to Rowling —‘16 books by transgender and non-binary authors’.
The post read: ‘My sister read all the early Potter books to me. I didn’t give JK Rowling a second thought back then — maybe I really wasn’t aware of the name — the books belonged to my sister and her funny voices. It was magic. A magic that Rowling didn’t create [actually she did, Richard] and cannot take away from me and my enby [non-binary person] soul.’
On Wednesday, amid the growing furore over the Edinburgh stunt, when fans of Rowling rallied to her defence, Energy said on social media: ‘This has and continues to be a very rough time . . . thank you so much everyone who has reached out with love. #transrights arehumanrights.’
The third member, drag queen Stars, clearly values her own privacy. Her social media accounts have all either been deleted or can only be viewed by her friends.
She grew up in Crewe and attended a Catholic school ‘towards the tail end of the Aids crisis,’ according to a local news website. It was in Crewe, she said, that she was subjected to homophobic death threats and bullied ‘for being queer’.
Stars, the writer of the Death Drop show that brought her, Frost and Energy to Edinburgh, is also a stand-up comedian and presents a monthly cabaret in London’s Soho. The capital, she says, is ‘more tolerant’ than Crewe but added ‘there is still a lot of work to be done’.
Clearly, she and her friends don’t believe in extending the same tolerance to JK Rowling.
Similar accusations to those levelled against her, Rowling argues, have been ‘sufficient to intimidate many people, institutions and organisations’.
There is a growing and shameful list of evidence for this: Labour MP Rosie Duffield decided not to attend her party conference in September after receiving threats from trans activists . . . balaclava-clad fanatics hounded Kathleen Stock, professor of philosophy at Sussex University, off campus . . . tax consultant Maya Forstater lost her job for saying people cannot change their biological sex.
What has Rowling done wrong?
That question was eloquently answered by writer and academic Joanna Williams, author of Women vs Feminism.
‘Her crime, ironically, is to deny the power of magic,’ Dr Williams said.
‘She believes it takes more than uttering a few special words for a man to transform into a woman — to say simply that because he identifies as a woman, he is a woman.’
Is there anyone outside the militant transgender lobby and some members of the liberal establishment who doesn’t also share this belief?