The Harry Potter series has been subject to much popularity since the very beginning as the franchise grew larger and larger with the blockbuster movies, theme parks, merchandise and never ending fanfiction. However, the mastermind behind it all has received much backlash over the past year despite her huge fan-following. JK Rowling’s controversial stance on trans rights brought forward many stars to put forward their views on this row that began in 2019.
Ralph Fiennes, actor who played the villainous Lord Voldemort in the series, recently broke his silence about the controversy in an interview with The Telegraph that was published on Wednesday.
I can’t understand the vitriol directed at her. I can understand the heat of an argument, but I find this age of accusation and the need to condemn irrational. I find the level of hatred that people express about views that differ from theirs, and the violence of language towards others, disturbing.
Although Fiennes refrains from commenting on the trans community itself, he does voice his concerns about the backlash received by Rowling.
Rupert Grint too has been reflecting upon his previously taken stance for the community. Following his co-stars’ – Daniel Radcliffie and Emma Watson – comments on trans rights post the controversy, Grint gave a statement to The Sunday Times,“I firmly stand with the trans community and echo the sentiments expressed by many of my peers. Trans women are women. Trans men are men. We should all be entitled to live with love and without judgement.”
However in a recent interview with Esquire, he says, “I am hugely grateful [for] everything that she’s (Rowling) done. I think that she’s extremely talented, and I mean, clearly, her works are genius.” Grint adds, “But yeah, I think also you can have huge respect for someone and still disagree with things like that.”
These statements by Fiennes and Grint stand in juxtaposition with comments of solidarity put forward by other members of the Harry Potter cast and crew including screenwriter Steve Kloves and actor Eddie Redmayne. Redmayne is also known for his Academy Award nominated performance in The Danish Girl, as he played Lili Elbe, one of the first known recipients of sex reassignment surgery. He made an official statement in June 2020 saying:
Respect for transgender people remains a cultural imperative, and over the years I have been trying to constantly educate myself. This is an ongoing process. As someone who has worked with both J.K. Rowling and members of the trans community, I wanted to make it absolutely clear where I stand. I disagree with Jo’s comments. Trans women are women, trans men are men and non-binary identities are valid. I would never want to speak on behalf of the community but I do know that my dear transgender friends and colleagues are tired of this constant questioning of their identities, which all too often results in violence and abuse. They simply want to live their lives peacefully, and it’s time to let them do so.