JK Rowling has denied claims that her pseudonym for her crime novels has any connection to gay conversion therapist Robert Galbraith Heath.
The Harry Potter author, who began publishing her crime novels under the name Robert Galbraith in 2013, has faced claims that she took her pen name from the psychiatrist.
However, Rowling’s rep told Metro.co.uk: ‘JK Rowling wasn’t aware of Robert Galbraith Heath when choosing the pseudonym for her crime novels.
‘Any assertion that there is a connection is unfounded and untrue.’
In a Q&A on the original Robert Galbraith website, Rowling also revealed that the name was partly inspired by Robert F Kennedy.
She said: ‘I chose Robert because it is one of my favourite men’s names, because Robert F Kennedy is my hero and because, mercifully, I hadn’t used it for any of the characters in the Potter series or The Casual Vacancy.
‘Galbraith came about for a slightly odd reason. When I was a child, I really wanted to be called Ella Galbraith, and I’ve no idea why. I don’t even know how I knew that the surname existed, because I can’t remember ever meeting anyone with it.
‘Be that as it may, the name had a fascination for me. I actually considered calling myself L A Galbraith for the Strike series, but for fairly obvious reasons decided that initials were a bad idea.’
Gailbraith Heath was an American psychiatrist who carried out experiments that would now be considered deeply unethical.
He’s most well known for his experiments with gay conversion therapy, which attempts to change a person’s sexual orientation and is now banned in many US jurisdictions – although not currently in the UK.
Rowling had faced speculation online about why the names were so similar, including one Twitter user who asked: ‘Can someone please give me a logical explanation to why @jk_rowling’s pseudonym is the same name as a famously sadistic psychiatrist who openly practiced gay conversion therapy?’
Another claimed: ‘Rowling’s latest book releasing shortly after her anti-trans campaigning is about a transvestite serial killer She wrote the book under the pen name “Robert Galbraith”, in apparent homage to the conversion therapist Robert Galbraith Heath who used to electrocute gay men.’
The claims come after the backlash Rowling has faced with her recently released Galbraith book, Troubled Blood.
The crime novel follows Private Detective Cormoran Strike as he tries to solve the disappearance of a woman in Cornwall in 1974, only to come up against a psychopathic serial killer.
However, the murderous character has received particular criticism for disguising himself in women’s clothing to commit his horrific crimes, after Rowling came under fire for her comments about trans women.
Details of the killer were first revealed in a review by The Telegraph, which claimed that ‘the meat of the book is the investigation into a cold case’ which is the disappearance of Margot Bamborough, thought to have been a victim of Dennis Creed, described in the piece as ‘a transvestite serial killer’.
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