‘Hocus Pocus’ Star Faces Backlash For Transphobic Tweet

in Disney, Entertainment, Movies

Credit: Disney

Hocus Pocus 2 hits Disney+ on September 30, 2022. The first trailer came out just over a week ago and has fans excited to see Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy reprise their iconic roles as the Sanderson Sisters from Hocus Pocus (1993).

Though most of the discussion around Hocus Pocus 2 (2022) this week has focused on the trailer, some fans are furious with one of the film’s leading witches.

Hocus Pocus 2 poster
Credit: Disney

Bette 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 sanderson sisters
Credit: Disney

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

Author Roxane Gay immediately responded to Midler, writing:

No one is trying to erase women with inclusive language about people who need abortion care. No one is calling you anything but what you prefer. You should extend that courtesy in return.

@LouisatheLast also responded, kindly asking Midler to reconsider her position and understand why people are transitioning to a more inclusive language:

Bette, this is disappointing to see from you. These are terms we use to include trans men and non-binary people who can get pregnant. It is absurd and dangerous to be lumping attempts at trans inclusivity in with right wing attempts to control our bodies as threats

Trans people did not overturn Roe V Wade. Trans people tend to be one of the most pro-choice groups of people you’ll ever meet, as bodily autonomy in medical care is kind of crucial to trans existence. They are not your enemy 

Crystal, a Drag Queen known for being featured on the first season of RuPaul’s Drag Race United Kingdom, attempted to reassure Midler that no one was taking away women’s right to be called women:

The fight for women’s rights INCLUDES trans people – trans rights do not erode women’s rights. We’re all fighting this together and this trans-exclusionary rhetoric does NOTHING to help that. Bette – you are a woman. Some other people who give birth are not women. That’s ok!

These three tweets are among thousands criticizing the iconic Sanderson sister, including many comparing this controversy that could taint Hocus Pocus 2 to how J.K. Rowling has ruined Harry Potter for many fans with similar transphobic rhetoric. @Rahul75 wrote:

This kind of TERF ideology has been amplified and justified largely thanks to JK Rowling and her ilk. The sad part is that they are winning the rhetorical battle. Seeing this from Bette Midler just breaks my heart.

Many fans have called Midler, who was recognized at the Kennedy Center Honors in 2021, a TERF (Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminist)- a term for feminists that exclude the rights of transgender women from their activism.

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

Mider has remained active on Twitter since July 4 but hasn’t further addressed the allegation that she posted a transphobic Tweet.

Inside the Magic will update on any significant developments in this story. 

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