JK Rowling Accused Of Transphobia, Harry Potter Actor Calls Her Fascist

JK Rowling has recently made very strong and definitive statements regarding her views on trans people.

By Liana Keane | Updated

This article is more than 2 years old

JK Rowling Transphobia

JK Rowling has recently made very strong and definitive statements regarding her views on trans people. Some people have taken these statements to be transphobic and as a result fans are boycotting and even former Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts cast members are condemning her.

For JK Rowling’s part, she’s refusing to take those statements back. Instead she has continued to expound upon them by tweeting links to anti-trans arguments and making more claims of her own.

Meanwhile both Warner Bros. and her publisher Hachette (publishing her upcoming children’s book The Ickabog) have been under pressure to distance from her. Hatchette employees have even issued statements stating they were uncomfortable continuing to work with Rowling and Harry Potter actors have widely condemned her.

Harry Potter Actor Says She’s Being Fascist

JK Rowling attacked

Actors who have worked with JK Rowling or starred in and made money off her writing have been turning on her for weeks. The latest is Miriam Margolyes. Margoyles is best known for playing Professor Sprout in the Harry Potter movies and she took advantage of an interview with The Times to attack JK Rowling.

“She [Rowling] has a rather conservative view of transgender people. I don’t think I do…It’s a matter of personal happiness for people and I think that’s what you should concentrate on…If you seriously want to become a woman you should be allowed to. You can’t be fascist about it.”

– -Miriam Margolyes

Rowling fans have responded with a half-hearted defense in which they claim that Rowling isn’t against people becoming a woman, rather she merely asserts it is not possible. That attempt at a defense, however, hasn’t really helped and Margoyles is being cheered for helping to lead the charge to cancel JK Rowling.

JK Rowling Calls For An End To Cancel Culture

As she’s become the center of an active attempt by activists to cancel her, JK Rowling has apparently begun to realize what a danger cancel culture is. As a result, she has signed an open letter calling for an end to it. In addition to Rowling, the letter is signed by over 150 authors, scholars, scientists, historians, journalists, and prominent thinkers.

The full statement can be read on Harper’s Bizarre but it says in part: “We need to preserve the possibility of good-faith disagreement without dire professional consequences. If we won’t defend the very thing on which our work depends, we shouldn’t expect the public or the state to defend it for us.”

In addition to JK Rowling signees include Noam Chomsky, Malcolm Gladwell, Steven Pinker, musician Wynton Marsalis, Salman Rushdie, David Frum, Garry Kasparov, and many many more of the brightest minds in the world.

Author Fired For Supporting JK Rowling

JK Rowling’s controversial views on trans people have created a firestorm not only for her, but for anyone who supports her. While Rowling has enough money that losing jobs because of her opinions won’t really matter to her, it does matter to some of the people who support her.

Case in point: best selling children’s author Gillian Philip. She tweeted support for Rowling using the hashtag #IStandWithJKRowling and as a result has now been fired from her job writing for the publisher Working Partners. The Daily Mail says her firing came after her publisher was subjected to a torrent of “online abuse” and angry emails demanding Philip’s be sacked.

Philip also writes under the pen name Erin Hunter and is best known for writing the popular fantasy series Warrior Cats, the Survivor series, and books like the Darke Academy series.

Harry Potter Fan Sites Condemn JK Rowling

MuggleNet and The Leaky Cauldron are the two biggest and oldest Harry Potter fan sites. And now they’ve issued a joint statement not only condemning JK Rowling but also pledging to ban any further coverage of Rowling.

Here’s their statement condemning her…

“As this fandom enters its third decade, J.K. Rowling has chosen this time to loudly pronounce harmful and disproven beliefs about what it means to be a transgender person. In addition to the distaste we feel for her choice to publish these statements during Pride Month—as well as during a global reckoning on racial injustice—we find the use of her influence and privilege to target marginalized people to be out of step with the message of acceptance and empowerment we find in her books and celebrated by the Harry Potter community.

Although it is difficult to speak out against someone whose work we have so long admired, it would be wrong not to use our platforms to counteract the harm she has caused. Our stance is firm: Transgender women are women. Transgender men are men. Non-binary people are non-binary. Intersex people exist and should not be forced to live in the binary. We stand with Harry Potter fans in these communities, and while we don’t condone the mistreatment JKR has received for airing her opinions about transgender people, we must reject her beliefs.”

And here’s how they plan to avoid having to talk about her in their news coverage going forward…

We will continue to cover J.K. Rowling’s work set outside of the wizarding world (e.g., the Cormoran Strike series, The Ickabog) as well as her charitable foundation, Lumos. We will no longer be covering aspects of her personal life (e.g., awards won, life achievements, tweets that are unrelated to the Wizarding World, charitable donations, legal issues, political commentary or opinions).

In addition to this, they’re going to stop showing images of JK Rowling herself on their site and pledge to stop linking to things which might make Rowling money. That last one is going to be pretty tough, given that their entire business is based on covering things that make Rowling money. I suspect this tactic is going to hurt these websites a lot more than it’ll hurt Rowling, but nevertheless they’ve decided to take a stand against her.

Hachette Supports JK Rowling

We’ve gotten no real response from Warner Bros. other than a blanket, generic denouncement, but Hatchette has responded and they’re coming out in favor of their biggest cash cow: JK Rowling.

Here’s Hachette’s statement…

“We are proud to publish J K Rowling’s children’s fairytale The Ickabog. Freedom of speech is the cornerstone of publishing. We fundamentally believe that everyone has the right to express their own thoughts and beliefs. That’s why we never comment on our authors’ personal views and we respect our employees’ right to hold a different view. We will never make our employees work on a book whose content they find upsetting for personal reasons, but we draw a distinction between that and refusing to work on a book because they disagree with an author’s views outside their writing, which runs contrary to our belief in free speech.” –Hachette

GLAAD Denounces JK Rowling

The LGBTQ watchdog organization GLAAD has denounced JK Rowling and is demanding that companies and actors begin to boycott her and her work. They’ll lift the ban on working with her, however, if she agrees to meet to them, according to a statement issued to Variety. However, it seems that JK Rowling is ignoring their requests to meet so that they can convince her to apologize and walk back her statements.

This could be bad news for Fantastic Beasts 3 as its unlikely Warner Brothers will want to make anything that she’s attached to, without GLAAD’s approval. If things don’t change soon, the movie may be dead in the water.

JK Rowling Responds To The Outrage

After fans began burning their Harry Potter books in protest and planning boycotts of Fantastic Beasts 3, JK Rowling has, however, been forced to respond to the outrage. She did so not by taking back what she said, but by bravely revealing something about herself.

In an essay on her website Rowling had this to say: “…as a much-banned author, I’m interested in freedom of speech and have publicly defended it, even unto Donald Trump.” She then went on to say she’s simply worried for the health of others explaining, “I’m concerned about the huge explosion in young women wishing to transition and also about the increasing numbers who seem to be detransitioning (returning to their original sex), because they regret taking steps that have, in some cases, altered their bodies irrevocably, and taken away their fertility. Some say they decided to transition after realising they were same-sex attracted, and that transitioning was partly driven by homophobia, either in society or in their families.”

She then goes on to reveal she’s been the victim of abuse: “If you could come inside my head and understand what I feel when I read about a trans woman dying at the hands of a violent man, you’d find solidarity and kinship. I have a visceral sense of the terror in which those trans women will have spent their last seconds on earth, because I too have known moments of blind fear when I realised that the only thing keeping me alive was the shaky self-restraint of my attacker.”

And finally she finishes with the example of bathroom confusion, “So I want trans women to be safe. At the same time, I do not want to make natal girls and women less safe. When you throw open the doors of bathrooms and changing rooms to any man who believes or feels he’s a woman – and, as I’ve said, gender confirmation certificates may now be granted without any need for surgery or hormones – then you open the door to any and all men who wish to come inside. That is the simple truth.”

Rowling’s heartfelt revelation hasn’t helped. Responses to her essay range from general hatred to tweets like this which equate her views with white supremacy…

Harry Potter Stars Condemn JK Rowling

And now Eddie Redmayne, the star of Fantastic Beasts 3, has felt compelled to speak out against her. In a statement to Variety he says, “I disagree with Jo’s comments. Trans women are women, trans men are men and non-binary identities are valid. I would never want to speak on behalf of the community but I do know that my dear transgender friends and colleagues are tired of this constant questioning of their identities, which all too often results in violence and abuse. They simply want to live their lives peacefully, and it’s time to let them do so.”

Daniel Radcliffe has also come out against Fantastic Beasts 3 writer/producer JK Rowling and her views. It’s odd turn given that the only reason he is famous enough to have a platform to come out against her, is because she exists.

In an open letter posted on this activist website Radcliffe says, “Transgender women are women. Any statement to the contrary erases the identity and dignity of transgender people and goes against all advice given by professional health care associations who have far more expertise on this subject matter than either Jo or I.”

GFR Editor Note: Though we are loathe to do so, as a website that covers science it would be unethical of us, at this point, not not fact check Radcliffe’s statement here since he invokes a consensus of experts to support his assertions. It is not true that what Rowling says goes against all advice of professionals. There is by no means a full consensus on the subject of sex and gender identity among the scientific and medical community. There are opinions on both sides. We leave it to you to do the research and decide for yourself which expert opinions seem more credible to you.

Radcliffe goes on to say, “To all the people who now feel that their experience of the books has been tarnished or diminished, I am deeply sorry for the pain these comments have caused you. I really hope that you don’t entirely lose what was valuable in these stories to you.”

Daniel Radcliffe insists this isn’t an example of infighting between he and JK, but he also just flat out accused her of erasing the identity and dignity of trans people. That’s going a little further than simply making it clear that he seems things differently than the woman who made him famous. Given Rowling’s involvement in Fantastic Beasts 3 this could mean any chance of his Harry Potter making a cameo died right here.

JK Rowling On Trans People

Rowling has subtly hinted before that she’s not in favor of the Trans acceptance movement but it was on June 6 she became more open about her feelings on the issue when she posted this…

There was immediate backlash against the post but instead of apologizing to satiate the mob coming after her, Rowling responded with this…

That upped the outrage even further, with people screaming for boycotts against anything related to Harry Potter or Rowling’s work.

Others are taking it even further and starting a movement to burn copies of Harry Potter books…

The backlash against Rowling has only continued to grow. JK Rowling seems uninterested in apologizing and ready to deal with the consequences of her stance, whatever that may be. Given the number of people involved in making money off her work, it’s hard to imagine any boycott really having any effect on her.