Statement from J.K. Rowling Regarding Resignation from MS Society Scotland


Apr 08, 2009

Posted by SueTLC

An update now regarding the story from earlier today, involving Harry Potter author J.K.Rowling and her resignation as Patron of MS Society Scotland, the charity she has long and very publicly supported on her website, in her many charitable contributions, and gala fund raising events. Scottish Television now has a lengthy statement from JKR on this matter as follows:

“I have now reluctantly decided that I cannot, in good conscience,
continue to be the public face of a charity that is changing beyond
recognition from the one with which I have been so proud to be
“I also remain committed to financing future research into the
treatment and causes of Multiple Sclerosis, and to campaigning for
better care and treatment of people with MS in Scotland, which is the
MS capital of the world.

“This disease claimed my mother’s life at the age of 45, and I hope
to continue giving both time and money to a cause which remains so
close to my heart.

“I have not taken the decision to quit my position as patron of MSSS
lightly. Late last year, I initiated and attended a mediation session,
in the hope of sorting out long-standing and escalating conflict
between the Scottish Council and management in London, driven by the
imposition of changes by London.

“Unfortunately, this achieved very little. With mounting frustration
and disappointment, I have witnessed resignations of immensely
dedicated people within MSSS and the increasing demoralisation of staff
whom I have come to know and admire over the ten years of our

She said her disappointment “cannot be overstated. Nevertheless, I
hope to continue to play a part in combating the underfunding and
misunderstandings surrounding MS for many years to come. I shall also
continue to hope that the MS Society Scotland manages to resolve its

An MS Society spokesman said: “JK Rowling has been a great patron
for the MS Society Scotland for many years. We are sorry she is
stepping down and thank her for her good work, and for her continued
support for the MS research centre in Edinburgh.

“The Society is in the middle of a governance review to make sure we
are properly organised to build on the excellent work we already do in
Scotland and across the UK. We are a strong, democratic organisation
and this review is being done in consultation with all of our 43,000

“We would have preferred to do this with JK Rowling’s involvement,
but we appreciate that significant change can be difficult. We would
urge supporters of the MS Society to work with us now. The Board is
confident that what we are doing is all about delivering the best
possible support to over 10,000 people living with MS in Scotland.”

55 Responses to Statement from J.K. Rowling Regarding Resignation from MS Society Scotland

Avatar Imagebudgie says: I hope they get things worked out, but still don't really understand.Avatar ImageeiVega says: Lots of pretty words that don't make sense and only cover up the issues. It sounds like politics. The details aren't our business anyway. This is probably as much info as we can get. They are going to protect the situation. I just hope things work out in the end. The real victims in all this are the patients. They deserve better. Avatar Imagekraamerxmich says: I dont fully understand either...Stepping down from miss-communication or what? confused....but i, also, hope this is worked outAvatar ImageKimberlyZ says: haha same here.Avatar Imageqwillpen says: Jo Rowling is careful with such decisions and I respect her choice.Avatar Imagekraamerxmich says: In my ealier post, i didnt fully understand these matters I looked up Multiple Sclerosi because i was unsure of its meaning. but now that i know, JkR's resignation makes much more sence to me. This is a delicate issue, and if it has been continuing for a while, i can understand the frustration For those of you who dont know, Multiple Sclerosi (MS) is where the body's immune system attacks the insulating substance (mylin) around the "electric cords" (signal cords). Without this protection, the "electric cords" that send signals to parts of the body, loose the ability to function.Avatar Imagehopkinsdancr22 says: I'm slightly confused? okay maybe I'm just slow hahaAvatar Imagemugglemom4 says: Well at least I am not the only one confused, but it looks like politics which always confuses me. Sounds like someone is doing some bullying and JKR doesn't support that. Avatar Imagecheeserpleaser says: It is a pity that this fracture took place. Whatever the nature of the issues that arose within the organization, I hope that all parties remain committed to addressing and confronting MS and do not waste their energies on something as trivial as her resignation.Avatar Imagejoelface says: It's a shame that the issues couldn't be resolved. Jo's support and image being associated with the fund would help but if she has a problem with the way things are being run then I completely understand her not wanting to be involved any more. It's not like she doesn't still help with this cause and countless others...Avatar Imagemaera-kyrie says: I wonder what exactly the great change was...whatever it is, I'm sure Jo has a good reason for her decision.Avatar Imageweilor123 says: As someone that suffers from MS AND, having spent many years involved in a non profit, I can only guess at what is happening. Non profit organizations of the size here mentioned often find themselves involved in internal struggles, usually over how funds raised are disbursed. I don't know if this is what has been happening here, but if it is, believe me it is a very complicated issue with few winners. JKR surely has been at the forefront in Scotland with her support for MSSS. Her resignation will undoubtedly cause some loss of contributions and prestige for MSS of all Great Britain, but maybe good will come out of it.Avatar ImageHROAR Mudblood Proud says: I doubt that she is stepping down for fear of change, as the society seems to suggest. After losing someone so close it must be a serious issue, not just a crossing of wires.Avatar ImageLuce_depp says: i'm 100% sure she left for a good reason.Avatar ImageFonty says: These things can happen. Organisations can change because the people running them change. Sometimes the change is too much and the original goals of a charity are not in focus as much anymore. And you find yourself in a position where you cannot support an organisation any longer. JK Rowling surely doesn´t make a decision like this lightly and without thinking.Avatar Imagelinnie95 says: She has always weighed things out before making a decision. I just sad tha this happened.Avatar ImageCatherine says: jeezz! my back is behind Jo! I'm supporting her side, i'm sure she wouldnt have left if it wasnt for a good reason....i wonder what went wrong though, to make her change her mind like that! Avatar ImageMary11_hplvr4l says: JKR would've done this w/ good reason & I take her word on it. Politics seem to be getting in the way of the oragization & she obviously wants no part in itAvatar ImageProfessorPotter says: Wish I knew what exactly these changes were. Its very sad that she to resign as a patron for this charity. I was really proud of her being patron. As for the conflict with London, I wonder if our nutty Mayor Boris Johnson has anything to do with this? I wont be surprised. I like the guy but he is quite frankly a nutcase at times! Probably nothing to do with him. But its all very mysterious....and I agree its all down to conflicting politics but how?Avatar ImageAttolia says: Mediation session? It sounds like this has been a problem for quite a while.Avatar Imagemollywobble says: The most important thing here is that she is still going to continue to fund MS research and campaign for better treatment of MS patients. It's just too bad it won't be with that organization, which she had supported for a long time. Avatar Imagebadger666 says: Oh, that's too bad. But I'm sure she left for a good reason.Avatar ImageA Chocolate Frog says: That's our Jo, eloquent as always. I trust her judgment and I hope that the MSSS will be able to get things straightened out soon.Avatar Imagerealspace says: The problem with big organizations is often that the people forming policy are not on the same page as the people actually doing the work. I have seen this happen a lot in government and industry. It sounds like the MSSS was getting directives from the "head honchos" in London that didn't fit with what the workers in Scotland felt was needed. As a result the workers were demoralized and it sounds like a lot of good people quit. JKR tried to get the opposing sides to the table to work everything out but that effort ended in failure for whatever reason. Since JKR didn't feel that the people in London were willing to run the MSSS in the way the people in Scotland thought it needed to be operated she expressed her feelings by saying in effect "If that's the way you're going to run things, you won't have my support" (not an actual quote of course). It IS all politics and they say all politics is local. That means that one shouldn't try to run the local politics from a distance, you are too far removed. Let the locals do it. Jo's statement says that she will continue to support MS research etc., just not by going through the MSSS anymore because she disagrees with the way the folks in London are screwing with things. This is my take on the whole thing from just reading the article. I think I'm pretty close to right. I hope I have cleared up some of the issues for those who said they were confused. Avatar ImageLilaCatsfoot says: It's always sad when good people and good organizations get off track because of conflict, whatever the conflict may be. It is not at all clear what is going on with this group, but it can't be good. I have some experience working on the board of a MUCH smaller organization and I can testify that it isn't easy to deal with conflict in a productive manner! Best wishes to all involved!Avatar ImageAgrippa1 says: I feel sure that she is stepping down because she believes that things are not right within the organization any longer - this is a cause she feels very strongly about, but she has also demonstrated that she believes strongly in doing what is right, whether or not her actions are popular or appear easy to understand to others.Avatar Imagefantasylover12001 says: I'm confused. But it's her choice and sounds like there's politic stuff going on so I don't blame her for stepping down. Politics suck.Avatar Imagephantomdave79 says: Ms. Rowling is a very very smart person and I'm sure she has very good reason to do what she is doing. Avatar ImageGraymayne says: Jo has followed her own philosophy, making a choice between what was right and what was easy. She is an inspiration.Avatar Imagemoglet says: Well said realspace and Graymayne, Central Government often imposes it's own agenda on things, there is so much interference at times that local government is somewhat limited in it's choices and I bet that lots of organisations do this too, based in London thinking they know best for outlying regions where they may have little local knowledge. Jo has always demonstrated her integrity, MS research will still have her backing and I believe she has chosen to resign out of neccessity but with great regret.Avatar Imagenoe_lover_42 says: ok cool :) <<--- Add Me On Myleaky ^_^Avatar Imagemhaeyemhaeye says: I'm sure she left for a good reason. I respect Jo and always will. :)Avatar ImageJustSuperMione says: She sounds really broken hearted about this!!! Poor Jo. I'm sure she'll figure a way to continue to support the cause!Avatar ImageSidish_black6 says: Maybe they didn't listen to her proposal or somethin. . . . . (just my thought) with the ppl involved n money there will always be in conflict. . . . . . itz the way the NGO runs. . . . . . Avatar ImageSally_Zaar says: bureaucrats! that's the problem. Avatar Imageroonwit says: The BBC report on this has a clip of Jo talking about her Mother's MS.Avatar Imagescarymissmary28 says: We'll never know the real reasons why...but I think Jo wouldn't leave if there wasn't a good reason.Avatar Imagehannah abbot says: I don't really get it :S there should maybe a simplified version for people like me who can't understand big words. :P it's sad though, as this charity obviously meant a lot to Jo. Avatar Imagejljkehoe says: I'm sure it is a huge loss for MSSS, as well as, for JKR. She was really dedicated to the organization. Hopefully, she can find another MS charity worth her time to support.Avatar Imagecallicott3 says: Echoing all the previous, and I am sure, following statements: Ms Rowling certainly does not take this lightly. She most definitely, is not one to abandon a cause, because of some "petty internal squabble". She had a good reason, and I'm sure will continue to support the real center of all of this....the people who suffer this incredibly sad disease....Avatar Imagelevi-OH-sa not levio-SA says: i think there was shady business going on and that's why she stepped downAvatar ImageLisee_Lu says: I think it's wonderful that Jo would put so much of herself into this organization and I doubt that she takes this decision lightly at all. She shouldn't be expected to support any organization that she cannot stand behind whole-heartedly and as she said, 'in good conscience' even if it is a good cause. As someone living with MS I am so proud of her for raising awareness and helping with a cure and I'm sure she will find many more ways to do so. Thanks Jo! Avatar ImageGarden State Geek says: Unfortunately, conflicts and power struggles exist in charities as well as in businesses, schools, and other social institutions. JKR probably has an excellent reason for leaving. Avatar ImageProfessorPotter says: That was really well put, realspace. Thank you for that. Why do the London beauracrats have to command the direction of the charities though? Charities have be inspected in terms efficiency, though. That is a must, in fact I know that some charities can waste a lot of money and in some cases get slightly corrupted. But the charities surely must manage their own fund raising and research, no? Perhaps this is the very question Jo maybe asking hence why she has now disconnected from the charity? But as others have said, it is important to remember that Jo will continue to support and contribute funding to the research facilities of MS. She just will not be Patron to an organisation she no believes is going in the right direction.Avatar ImageJTEL99 says: Maybe there was some mis-management of funds. Sadly, I think that happens in charities quite often.Avatar ImageHeavenly_Horcrux says: I'm sure Jo left for a good reason.Avatar ImageDylanStarrGeiger says: Well she is still committed to funding and research, right? Unfortunately, groups and their members change over time. What was once important gets forgotten. Politics step in. Issues involving money arise left and right. I've volunteered with a dozen agencies for the past four years and I know what it feels like to need to step away. You still care about the cause but you feel uncomfortable with associating yourself with a group that, in your opinion, is headed in the wrong direction. Avatar ImageSpiffia says: Ooh, it's too back that office politics has led to this, but I'm glad she's saying something and not just going along with it.Avatar Imagehermyone08 says: I'm sure she didn't make her decision lightly.Avatar ImageSirEdwardsGuardian says: I've never heard of *anyone* making decisions like this lightly and/or without thinking.Avatar ImageCellar Door says: Further details on this would be useful to completely understand what happened, but I'm sure JKR chose for the best.Avatar Imagestevenk12468 says: I love this woman. She always stands up for what she believes in, and no matter how rich she becomes, she stills seems like a down to earth, kind, caring person. Avatar ImageDanielleD says: she is just amazing!Avatar Imagechoirgeek says: I don't really understand much of what was written here. As someone else mentioned, it is a lot of over-descriptive words that don't really give a full meaning as to what happened, but it is their business, not mine. I'm sure JKR didn't make this decision lightly at all, and I'm also pretty sure that she wouldn't have stepped down if she weren't very, very certain about it.Avatar Imageroonwit says: There are more details about the likely reasons for Jo's decision to resign at

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