Another Harry Potter Star Is Speaking Up For J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter actress Helena Bonham Carter is defending author J.K. Rowling and her recent comments about sex and gender.
Helena Bonham Carter is rejecting the criticism of Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling, but says she isn’t passing judgement or taking sides, per se. She believes that the controversy surrounding Rowling’s views has been “extreme,” but maintains that Rowling has her own reasons to hold those beliefs.
“It’s horrendous, a load of b——s,” Helena Bonham Carter told The Times recently. “I think [J.K. Rowling] has been hounded. It’s been taken to the extreme, the judgmentalism of people. She’s allowed her opinion, particularly if she’s suffered abuse.”
J.K. Rowling has openly written about past sexual trauma on her website, and her supporters maintain that her experiences warrant her holding her particular beliefs about transgender rights. Helena Bonham Carter thinks that people should consider the Harry Potter writer’s past before they pass judgement.
“Everybody carries their own history of trauma and forms their opinions from that trauma and you have to respect where people come from and their pain,” Helena Bonham Carter continued. “You don’t all have to agree on everything – that would be insane and boring. She’s not meaning it aggressively, she’s just saying something out of her own experience.”
J.K. Rowling came under fire beginning in 2019 after a series of blunders on Twitter. Trans rights supporters began labeling her as a TERF–a trans-exclusionary radical feminist–as Rowling began associating with known TERFs on Twitter. In 2020, people criticized her again when she posted a lengthy opinion piece on her website defending her beliefs.
“This isn’t an easy piece to write, for reasons that will shortly become clear, but I know it’s time to explain myself on an issue surrounded by toxicity,” she explained in the piece. “I write this without any desire to add to that toxicity.”
J.K. Rowling explained that her experiences with domestic and sexual abuse led her to become “triggered” by some discussions surrounding gender. She also claimed that she believes young girls are transitioning as a response to misogyny and homophobia, and revealed her beliefs that the “new trans activism” is “pushing to erode the legal definition of sex and replace it with gender.”
J.K. Rowling has done much more in the following years on social media, speaking publicly about her beliefs and challenging “the idea that womanhood is a feeling in a man’s head,” as Rowling told The Telegraph in April 2022. Helena Bonham Carter, meanwhile, claims that the Harry Potter writer remains entitled to her beliefs.
The Harry Potter star is not technically taking sides, but seems to be looking at the issue from all perspectives. Helena Bonham Carter maintains that the hatred and death threats J.K. Rowling still receives are “to the extreme,” and does not believe that Rowling deserves it.
According to Helena Bonham Carter, J.K. Rowling’s beliefs come from a place of trauma, and “allowed her opinion.” But, what about when that opinion is directly harmful to a community of group of people?
Helena Bonham Carter recently told The Times that “if you don’t deal with the problems that you carry inside, it will just create more fault lines in yourself and then the rest of the world has to cope with those you haven’t dealt with,” at least in terms of those in power. But the Harry Potter creator does carry some power herself, and shouldn’t people hold her responsible for her own fault lines?
British actress Helena Bonham Carter rose to fame with her very first film, A Room With A View, in 1985. She starred in a number of period pieces, including Howard’s End and Hamlet, but moved on to more mainstream blockbusters with 1999’s Fight Club. She met her partner, Batman director Tim Burton, in 2001 when she appeared in his remake of Planet of the Apes. She has appeared in many of his subsequent films, including Alice in Wonderland, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street and The Corpse Bride. She has also appeared in Terminator Salvation and The Lone Ranger. She also portrayed Princess Margaret in Netflix’s The Crown.
J.K. Rowling, aka Joanne Rowling, rose to fame with the publication of the first Harry Potter novel in 1997. The seven books in the series about a young boy who discovers his wizard heritage at a magical school has sold over half-a-billion copies and has been translated into over 70 languages. The Harry Potter empire includes a franchise of movies and spinoffs, video games, toys, and a theme park at Universal Studios. Her first novel, for grown-ups, The Casual Vacancy, was published in 2012. She also writes a crime fiction series.
The Gloucestershire native conceived the idea for Harry Potter while working for Amnesty International in 1990, but it took seven years before she could get the book published as an unknown author. By 2008, Forbes had named her the highest-paid author in the world.