Hogwarts Legacy Actor Apologizes To LGBTQ Fandom After Backlash

Sebastian Croft apologized for being involved with Hogwarts Legacy after backlash over JK Rowling's views.

By Jennifer Asencio | Published

The game Hogwarts Legacy has been met with as much backlash as anticipation because of the views expressed by Harry Potter author JK Rowling. Among those who have been targeted by activists protesting the author and her properties is Sebastian Croft, the Heartstopper actor, who was discovered to have voiced a role in the video game. In a tweet, Croft responded to protesters, apologizing for his involvement and expressing his “hope to learn” more.

Heartstopper is a teen drama that has a lot of fans in the LBGTQ+ community, and Sebastian Croft plays Ben on the show. He also voices a playable character in Hogwarts Legacy, a fact that detractors of JK Rowling’s views took note of. The actor has received backlash on social media from fans disappointed that he would be associated with the project.

Many trans activists believe that JK Rowling’s views are transphobic and have urged a boycott of Hogwarts Legacy under the notion that she will receive royalties that she will then put toward anti-trans initiatives. The author has opened a crisis center that is expressly for women and girls, which has been accused of being transphobic for being exclusionary of trans women, and protesters of the game warn that she will spend any royalties she earns from it on similar projects. In protest of her views, activists have been known to vocally criticize celebrities who add likes to her posts or contribute to her projects.

“I was cast in this project over 3 years ago, back when all Harry Potter was to me, was the magical world I grew up with. This was long before I was aware of JK Rowling’s views,” Croft tweeted as part of his apology for appearing in Hogwarts Legacy.

Numerous methods of protest and counterprotest have arisen in response to Hogwarts Legacy, with some of JK Rowling’s supporters saying that they will buy multiple copies of the game. Her detractors have approached various participants in its creation, such as Sebastian Croft, and called attention to the sentiments they believe JK Rowling holds, cautioning that they believe she is supporting hate. Others have filmed short videos or written social media posts and essays decrying the game.

JK Rowling appears on the Today Show.

The controversy began when JK Rowling sided with controversial figure Maya Forstater in a UK employment tribunal that challenged the boundaries of the debate over sex versus gender. The creator of the Hogwarts Legacy world is famously an outspoken feminist and domestic abuse survivor and has called for the preservation of single-sex spaces in places like women’s shelters, sports, and intimate healthcare. She wrote an essay explaining her views after the accusations began but has received censure and even death threats since.

Celebrities both aligning with JK Rowling and against her have spoken out about her views and the response to them. The three stars of the Harry Potter movies, Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint, have all denounced her views, alongside various other celebrities. Meanwhile, fellow Harry Potter castmates Ralph Fiennes, Helena Bonham Carter, and Tom Felton were joined by Brian Cox and John Cleese in saying that the Hogwarts Legacy muse was entitled to her opinions and should be allowed to voice her reservations.

The debate over the boundaries of sex and gender intensified recently in JK Rowling’s home of Scotland when the Scottish parliament passed a law that lessens requirements for obtaining a gender recognition certificate in the country, which was subsequently overturned by the United Kingdom. The debate has reached a fevered pitch in the British Isles, and Hogwarts Legacy has found itself a pawn in a political firestorm. Despite the backlash, the game is the #1 most pre-ordered game on the service Steam as well as for the Playstation 5, indicating that the Wizarding World will always have fans regardless of the politics of its author.