‘Hocus Pocus’ Star Doubles Down After Transphobia Allegations

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Sanderson Sisters

Credit: Disney

This week, we reported on a Tweet from Hocus Pocus (1993) star Bette Midler that faced criticism for transphobic rhetoric. The controversy comes just months before the September 30 release of Hocus Pocus 2 (2022), which features Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy reprising their roles as the spooky Sanderson Sisters.

Credit: Disney

Midler took to Twitter on July 4 to discuss women’s rights, a hot topic after the Supreme Court officially overturned Roe v. Wade last month, leading to abortion bans in over a dozen states. Midler wrote:

WOMEN OF THE WORLD! We are being stripped of our rights over our bodies, our lives and even of our name! They don’t call us “women” anymore; they call us “birthing people” or “menstruators”, and even “people with vaginas”! Don’t let them erase you! Every human on earth owes you!

While Midler, a New York City resident and Tony Award winner,  has made it clear that she supports abortion access, fans were frustrated that she chose to focus on the terminology surrounding abortion rather than abortion rights.

Hocus Pocus (L-R) Kathy Najimy, Bette Midler, and Sarah Jessica Parker
Credit: Disney

Terms like “pregnant people” and “people with uteruses” include transgender and nonbinary community members. Not everyone with a uterus is a woman, so this language is more inclusive and accurate.

On July 5, Midler took to Twitter once again to defend her initial Tweet, writing:

PEOPLE OF THE WORLD! My tweet about women was a response to this fascinating and well written piece in the NYT on July 3rd.  tinyurl.com/2p9dw2th. There was no intention of anything exclusionary or transphobic in what I said;  it wasn’t about that.

It was about the same old shit women – ALL WOMEN – have been putting up with since the cavemen. Even then, men got top billing. But seriously, folks, if anyone who read that tweet thinks I have anything but love for any marginalized people, go to Wikipedia and type in my name.

I’ve fought for marginalized people for as long as I can remember. Still, if you want to dismiss my 60 years of proven love and concern over a tweet that accidentally angered the very people I have always supported and adored, so be it.  

But the truth is, Democracy is slipping through our fingers! I’m all in on trying to save Democracy for ALL PEOPLE. We must unite, because, in case you haven’t been paying attention, divided we will definitely fall.

Midler, who was given a Kennedy Center Honor in 2021, has come under fire for insensitive comments on multiple occasions in the past. Just one day after allegations of transphobia, Midler shared a photo that many fans called “racist” and “Islamophobic.”

Hocus Pocus
Credit: Disney

Representative Stephanie Byers from Kansas responded to Midler, asking her to voice support for trans men and women specifically:

Bette, I’m the first transgender Native American elected to a state legislature in the US. People against trans women are using your tweet as proof that even liberals are against the trans community. If that isn’t the case, specifically say trans men and women are men and women

Midler hasn’t responded to Byers or said anything else regarding allegations of transphobia.

Inside the Magic will report on any significant updates to this story. 

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