A Harry Potter Star Is Defending J.K. Rowling’s Controversial Statements

Harry Potter star Ralph Fiennes is defending J.K. Rowling's anti-trans views.

By Matthew Creith | Published

Controversial writer J.K. Rowling has made statements on Twitter and other social media platforms about the trans community that has seen the Harry Potter author wade into troubled waters in recent years. However, British actor Ralph Fiennes has now come to the novelist’s defense, according to a report by Variety in which the Voldemort performer believes much of the vitriol hurled at Rowling has been “disgusting” and downright “appalling.” Rowling has seen her star fall in recent years due to her comments on social media, resulting in her not being invited to the Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts that aired on HBO Max earlier this year.

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Ralph Fiennes in coming to J.K. Rowling’s defense seems to hit a different tone than other actors who participated in the Harry Potter franchise, including Draco Malfoy’s Tom Felton, who recently confirmed in his memoir that Rowling was not a big part of the filming of the eight Harry Potter movies that he costarred in alongside Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Robbie Coltrane, and Rupert Grint.

Fiennes, in contrast, believes that Rowling wrote a series of novels that helped to further the idea of empowerment and catered to young children in a moral way. Any anger coming from fans of Harry Potter about Rowling’s comments over the years is viewed by Fiennes as “verbal abuse,” as reported by Variety.

The statement by Ralph Fiennes concerning J.K. Rowling’s polarizing place in entertainment at this point in time comes as Fiennes is promoting his new film, The Menu, which is a black comedy horror film and stars the actor as a celebrity chef who excels at molecular gastronomy for wealthy patrons. The movie is set to be released in theaters on November 18 after premiering at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival, and will costar The Great’s Nicholas Hoult, Amsterdam actor Anya Taylor-Joy, The Whale’s Hong Chau, Judith Light, comedian John Leguizamo, and English actor Janet McTeer.

Directed by Mark Mylod and produced by Adam McKay and Will Ferrell, The Menu is slated to be an awards season contender as Fiennes continues his press tour to promote the film, which will be distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures.

J.K. Rowling made many posts about the trans community and women on social media in the last few years before Ralph Fiennes stepped in this year to defend her honor, amounting to an onslaught of criticism thrown her way due to what many Harry Potter fans deemed to be insensitivity and lack of understanding about what trans people go through on a daily basis.

The author has since received death threats and has been canceled by her peers in the literary community for her remarks, although she still remains part of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in some fashion. Rowling was listed as the sole screenwriter on 2016’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, as well as its subsequent sequels Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald and Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore, the latter of which she shared writing credit with Harry Potter screenwriter Steve Kloves.