The U.K. native first came under fire in 2007 shortly after the series’ final book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, was published. Rowling revealed to fans at Carnegie Hall that Albus Dumbledore had romantic feelings for his friend turned rival, Gellert Grindelwald, when they were teenagers.
“Dumbledore fell in love with Grindelwald, and that added to his horror when Grindelwald showed himself to be what he was,” Rowling said at the time.
Some fans took issue with the revelation because Dumbledore’s sexuality was never hinted at or mentioned in the book series.
Years later, Rowling teased that Dumbledore’s relationship with Grindelwald would be depicted in the 2018 film, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald — a prequel to the Harry Potter series that featured a young Dumbledore (Jude Law).
“You will see Dumbledore as a younger man and quite a troubled man — he wasn’t always the sage,” Rowling — who penned the screenplay — told Time Magazine in 2016. “We’ll see him at that formative period of his life. As far as his sexuality is concerned … Watch this space.”
However, director David Yates told Entertainment Weekly in January 2018 that the movie would “not explicitly” make it clear that Dumbledore is gay. After fans expressed their disappointment, Rowling addressed the uproar tweeting that Crimes of Grindelwald is only “part of a five-movie series.”
The Casual Vacancy author faced backlash again in December 2019 when she publicly supported British researcher Maya Forstater, who was fired after making transphobic comments. Six months later, Rowling tweeted an article titled “Opinion: Creating a more equal post-COVID-19 world for people who menstruate.”
She wrote at the time,”‘People who menstruate.’ I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?”
Scroll down to see Rowling’s most controversial moments throughout the years.