J.K. Rowling Defends Her Controversial Comments In New Project

The creator of Harry Potter, J.K. Rowling, defends her statements on transwomen in a new podcast, The Witch Trials of J.K. Rowling.

By Jonathan Klotz | Published

jk rowling

The creator of Harry Potter has been at the center of one of the largest, longest cancellation campaigns in history after making remarks on Twitter against transwomen. J.K. Rowling is set to open up about her views, and how it’s impacted her life and legacy, in a new podcast series called The Witch Trials of J.K. Rowling. Variety reports that the podcast will see the embattled author defend her stance that transwomen are ultimately harmful to women.

The podcast is hosted by Megan Phelps-Roper, a former member of the Westboro Baptist Church, a group so militantly opposed to the LGBT community that they would famously protest at military funerals. Phelps-Roper left the organization in 2012, and wrote a book about her experience that made J.K. Rowling think she was the perfect person to have an in-depth conversation with on the many controversies surrounding her life and work. Older issues, such as Harry Potter promoting witchcraft, were once hot-button topics but have now faded in light of the author’s stance on trans-rights.

And I think: ‘You could not have misunderstood me more profoundly.’

J.K. Rowling on critics of her stance on transwomen

Stars of the movie franchise including Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, and Eddie Redmayne have all spoken out against J.K. Rowling’s comments against transwomen. Back in 2020, one of the first tweets on the subject read as “If sex isn’t real, there’s no same-sex attraction. If sex isn’t real, the lived reality of women globally is erased. I know and love trans people, but erasing the concept of sex removes the ability of many to meaningfully discuss their lives. It isn’t hate to speak the truth.”

While there’s an opening for a discussion on sex and gender as two different concepts J.K. Rowling insists that “What has interested me in recent years, particularly on social media [is when fans say], ‘You’ve ruined your legacy.” Oh, you could have been beloved forever, but you chose to say this.’ And I think: ‘You could not have misunderstood me more profoundly”

harry potter
Emma Watson, Daniel Radcliffe, and Rupert Grint in Harry Potter

Given that quote from the trailer for The Witch Trials of J.K. Rowling, it sure sounds like the author will remain insistent in her position that transwomen threaten the place of women in society. A year after her first comment, The Casual Vacancy author remarked, sarcastically, that “now hundreds of trans activists have threatened to beat, rape, assassinate and bomb me I’ve realised that this movement poses no risk to women whatsoever.” Though critics can disagree with her initial statements, everyone should recognize this later comment by acknowledging hatred and violence, no matter the target, has no productive place in our global community.

It’s one thing to disagree with someone on any point but quite another to wish harm would befall anyone. J.K. Rowling, for all of her faults and support of political candidates that may be one side in the U.K., has also not advocated violence. And to be fair, the vast majority of her critics and those calling for boycotts are also not calling for violence, instead they bring up the issue transmen and transwomen have with finding healthcare and living life without public shame and harassment.

No matter how the the controversy is playing out online, and in bookstores given J.K. Rowling’s latest novel centers on a creator being targeted by a hate campaign over trans-rights comments, it’s a small part of the fanbase that’s upset. Hogwart’s Legacy, the recent open-world video game allowing players to experience Hogwarts like never before, is already the best-selling Harry Potter game in the U.K. Universal Studios Wizarding World rides, exhibits, and shops remain packed with fans every day of the year.

At this point, J.K. Rowling won’t change the minds of anyone that either opposes her or supports her. Most fans of the global phenomenon she started might not even know that there’s a controversy to begin with regarding her statements. Either way, for those that are part of the terminally online, get ready for when The Witch Trials of J.K. Rowling launches on Tuesday, February 21st.