Taking a stand. J.K. Rowling‘s controversial transphobic remarks have left both Harry Potter‘s fans and cast members feeling conflicted.
The author first came under fire in June 2020, when she shared multiple posts on Twitter that appeared to slam the trans community. “If sex isn’t real, there’s no same-sex attraction. If sex isn’t real, the lived reality of women globally is erased,” Rowling wrote at the time, arguing that she had researched the topic for meany years before sharing her opinion. “I know and love trans people, but erasing the concept of sex removes the ability of many to meaningfully discuss their lives. It isn’t hate to speak the truth.”
Her posts earned a great deal of backlash from social media users, many of whom accused Rowling of being a “TERF,” which stands for trans-exclusionary radical feminist. The writer, however, defended her stance in a lengthy essay in June 2020.
“Accusations of TERFery have been sufficient to intimidate many people, institutions and organisations I once admired, who’re cowering before the tactics of the playground,” she claimed at the time. “Speaking as a biological woman, a lot of people in positions of power really need to grow a pair (which is doubtless literally possible, according to the kind of people who argue that clownfish prove humans aren’t a dimorphic species).”
As the controversy continued, several members of the Harry Potter universe including Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint, appeared to distance themselves from Rowling. “I firmly stand with the trans community,” Grint said in a statement to Us Weekly in June 2020. “Trans women are women. Trans men are men. We should all be entitled to live with love and without judgment.”
While many of the franchise’s stars opened disagreed with the producer, others have maintained that they still respect Rowling and her impact on their careers. Jason Isaacs, for his part, opened up about his “complicated” feelings about the Casual Vacancy author in a January 2022 interview with The Telegraph.
“There’s a bunch of stuff about Jo. You know, I play complicated people, I’m interested in complicated people,” the actor, who portrayed Lucius Malfoy throughout the series, said at the time. “I don’t want to get drawn into the trans issues, talking about them, because it’s such an extraordinary minefield. She has her opinions, I have mine. They differ in many different areas.”
Despite their opposing points of view, Isaacs wanted to acknowledge all of the “good” Rowling has done over the years through the Harry Potter series and her charity work. “One of the things that people should know about her too — not as a counter-argument — is that she has poured an enormous amount of her fortune into making the world a much better place, for hundreds of thousands of vulnerable children, through her charity Lumos,” he explained, adding that his former costars have volunteered with Lumos and “seen on the ground the work that they do.”
The philanthropist, however, has continued to double down on her opinions. Rowling reacted to a report by The Sunday Times alleging that Scottish police will “record rapes by offenders with male genitalia as being committed by a woman if the attacker ‘identifies as a female,'” in December 2021. “War is Peace. Freedom is Slavery. Ignorance is Strength. The Penised Individual Who Raped You Is a Woman,” the screenwriter wrote on Twitter.
Amid all of her controversies, Rowling did not take part in HBO’s recent Harry Potter 20th Anniversary reunion special but was instead featured in archival footage shot in 2019.
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Keep scrolling to see what other Hogwarts alums have said about Rowling over the years.