Lord Voldemort, or rather the actor Ralph Fiennes, finds the recent backlash against J.K. Rowling disturbing, voicing his support for Rowling in a recent interview with The Telegraph (via The Hollywood Reporter). The actor behind the He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named villain said he’s upset by how Rowling’s treated on social media regarding her controversial opinions on gender identity and biological sex.
The controversies that Ralph Fiennes is referring to has to deal with the social media backlash Rowling faced over a series of tweets in which she criticized an article headline for the use of the trans-inclusive term “people who menstruate” instead of “women.” She then followed up the tweet discussing how gender identity negates biological sex and “the shared reality of women.” Of course, the transphobic implications that trans men and women aren’t “real” men and women in the biological sense were the spark that lit the fire.
“I can’t understand the vitriol directed at her,” said Ralph Fiennes, “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.”
Ralph Fiennes claims that the fan backlash against Rowling is irrational and that the “cancel culture” is too quick to condemn anyone who disagrees with them or doesn’t share their viewpoints. He labeled the outcry against Rowling as a product of cancel culture. It could be that he lacks a full understanding of why exactly the fans are so upset by the tweets.
However, the defensive statement from Ralph Fiennes opposes the opinions of several of his Harry Potter co-stars. Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, and Katie Leung immediately used their social media influence to stand up for the trans community. Daniel Radcliffe even wrote an open letter in which he wrote that transgender women are women and that any statement to the contrary erases the dignity of transgender individuals.
Rowling continued to defend her statements by publishing an essay in which she restates her support for the trans community but also lays out reasons for being worried about the new trans activism and why she deems it dangerous. On the opposite side of the scale, the LGBTQ rights organizations have supported non-traditionally-oriented artists in their public criticism of Rowling’s tweets. Previous controversial tweets, in which Rowling stated her support for Maya Forstater, resurfaced again, receiving a second round of special attention.
The ongoing criticism hasn’t significantly impacted her career so far, including several ongoing titles in the Harry Potter franchise, which she owns. With that said, J.K. Rowling’s controversies place the upcoming video game Hogwarts Legacy in an awkward place, as the fans are torn between canceling J.K. Rowling or supporting the folks who created the game. The game’s directors stated that the author isn’t directly involved with the game but they have praised her exceptional body of writing. As for Ralph Fiennes, his defending statements towards Rowling may earn him a similar backlash from those upset by Rowling’s tweets. All we can tell is that the cancel culture spewed a few unsightly hashtags involving J.K. Rowling, and we hope we don’t see his name there too.