‘Harry Potter’ Star Shares Support for JK Rowling Amidst Controversy

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Harry shakes hands with Slughorn

Credit: Warner Bros.

In the midst of controversy, one Harry Potter star has pledged their support for author JK Rowling.

Once one of the world’s most beloved children’s authors, Rowling first became the subject of backlash in 2018 after liking a tweet describing transgender women as “men in dresses.”

JK Rowling on the red carpet at Wizarding World of Harry Potter
Credit: Universal Studios

While a representative later stated that Rowling did so in a “clumsy and middle-aged moment,” the following years suggest otherwise. Since 2018, Rowling has doubled down on her stance on transgender rights, arguing that women shouldn’t be removed from their jobs for believing biological sex is real, taking issue with the phrase “people who menstruate,” and penning an essay arguing that trans activism was “seeking to erode ‘woman’ as a political and biological class.” You know, just more classic clumsy, middle-aged moments.

For fans who’ve idolized the author for decades, the idea of Rowling holding transphobic beliefs has been a tough pill to swallow. Several of the franchise’s stars have since sought to distance themselves from the author, as well as reasserting their support for the transgender community.

Hermione and Harry
Credit: Warner Bros.

“Trans people are who they are and deserve to live their lives without being constantly questioned or told they aren’t who they say they are,” Emma Watson, who played Hermione Granger, said in a Twitter statement in June 2020.

That same month, the franchise’s leading man, Daniel Radcliffe, released a statement through the LGBT suicide prevention charity the Trevor Project.

Transgender women are women. Any statement to the contrary erases the identity and dignity of transgender people and goes against all advice given by professional health care associations who have far more expertise on this subject matter than either Jo or I. To all the people who now feel that their experience of the books has been tarnished or diminished, I am deeply sorry for the pain these comments have caused you.

However, one Harry Potter star has now asserted that they’re very much on Rowling’s side.

Slughorn sits at the bar in the Three Broomsticks
Credit: Warner Bros.

In a recent interview with The Daily Telegraph, Jim Broadbent – known for portraying Potions professor Horace Slughorn in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009) and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 (2011) – said that abuse aimed at Rowling was “really sad” and vowed to stand with her against the critics.

“I think JK Rowling is amazing,” he said. “I haven’t had to confront it myself, but I would support her in that, I think, if it came to it.”

Broadbent joins fellow Harry Potter stars Evanna Lynch (Luna Lovegood) and Ralph Fiennes (Lord Voldemort) with his defense of Rowling. His comments came after being asked his opinion on Rowling becoming a “lightning rod” for her thoughts on trans rights and gender. Broadbent commented that he finds the whole situation “really sad.”

Slughorn looks concerned
Credit: Warner Bros.

In the same interview, Broadbent also described director Woody Allen – whose adoptive daughter Dylan Farrow has accused of sexual abuse, something Allen has repeatedly denied – as “brilliant” and lamented that he’s “just sorry he’s not able to make films in the way he would obviously like to.”

Rowling’s beliefs are in the spotlight more than ever right now. The announcement of HBO’s upcoming Harry Potter television adaptation has sparked outcry from those who believe the move reads as ignorance – or, worse, endorsement – of Rowling’s previous comments. As with the video game “Hogwarts Legacy” before it, fans have called for a boycott of the series.

HBO is banking on a wealth of Harry Potter nostalgia to make its adaptation a success, which makes a boycott a threat to the show’s existence before it’s even started. However, if Rowling’s sarcastic Twitter response is anything to go by, she’s far from worried. “Dreadful news, which I feel duty bound to share,” Rowling wrote. “Activists in my mentions are trying to organise yet another boycott of my work, this time of the Harry Potter TV show. As forewarned is forearmed, I’ve taken the precaution of laying in a large stock of champagne.”

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