Sadly, whenever JK Rowling is trending these days, it isn’t because of the excitement over a new book or movie. Usually it’s because legions of what were once loyal fans of Rowling are once more furious at the writer, and right now is no exception.
JK Rowling’s name is trending on social media in the wake of the reveal of the release date and title of the third installment of the Fantastic Beasts films. Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore is due to hit theaters April 15, 2022, and as soon as the news dropped, Rowling’s name began trending. Of chief concern to a lot of fans is a screenshot making its way around Twitter from the film’s Wikipedia entry. In particular, the description of Fantastic Beasts 3 reveals the film’s setting will alternate between Brazil and Berlin, and that it will deal with “the Wizarding World’s involvement in World War II.”
As Brad Brown’s response demonstrates, the fact that JK Rowling — a woman whose name has become synonymous with anti-trans bigotry — is handling the subject matter of World War II, has more than a few people worried with exactly how she’ll deal with the subject of the Holocaust. The writer has already weathered accusations of antisemitism because of the depictions of goblins in the Harry Potter novels, and while some are suggesting she isn’t the writer to handle such a subject, others are just flat-out calling her an antisemite.
Comedian Blake Hammond suggested JK Rowling is delving into conspiracy theory territory, while Twitter user Nullspace suggested this premise has more to do with the writer’s gaming habits.
If Twitter is to be believed, there are plenty of former fans who won’t be going within a thousand miles of Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore. While the premise of the film has many concerned over possible antisemitic messages, it’s JK Rowling’s perceived transphobia that seems to have most fans refusing to support her Wizarding World any longer.
There are even fans who do their best to let others know that, even if their dedication to Harry Potter is just too hardcore to miss a movie, they should enjoy the upcoming film in a way that doesn’t support JK Rowling by watching the movie illegally online.
If somehow you’re unfamiliar with the criticism JK Rowling has attracted from the trans community, in July Glamour posted a breakdown of Rowling’s controversial statements about trans people. Her comments have drawn ire not just from fans, but from the actors who helped bring her characters to life on the big screen. Miriam Margolyes (Professor Sprout) called Rowling’s views “fascist,” for example, and likewise Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley) has made it clear he doesn’t agree with the writer. Really, the only Harry Potter actor to spring to Rowling’s defense is Robbie Coltrane (Hagrid).
These days, just saying something complimentary about JK Rowling can get you in trouble, as novelist Stephen King learned when he tweeted about her 2020 novel Troubled Blood and called her “a wonderful storyteller and a gifted stylist.” A massive social media backlash followed, even though King made no comments about Rowling’s transphobic opinions. Some might argue, however, that just praising the book supported those views. Troubled Blood‘s villain is a man who dresses as a woman in order to murder women; something many saw as a clear representation of the writer’s views.