Harry Potter Star Ralph Fiennes Finds Backlash Against J.K. Rowling's Trans Stance 'Disturbing'
“We need to have those voices that risk being offensive,” says the actor, who portrayed the villainous Lord Voldemort.
Add Lord Voldemort himself to the very small number of Harry Potter stars who are coming out in defense of the boy wizard’s creator, J.K. Rowling, after her anti-trans comments lit a firestorm in Potter fandom and beyond.
Speaking with The Telegraph on Wednesday, Ralph Fiennes said that he “can’t understand the vitriol directed at her.”
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That vitriol only grew after Rowling repeatedly doubled down on offensive comments about trans women that saw her labeled a TERF, a trans-exclusionary radical feminist.
Rowling’s continued attacks left fans frustrated and conflicted about how to reconcile her views with her creation, which had always seemed to represent inclusion and diversity in all its beauty.
“I can understand the heat of an argument,” Fiennes told the outlet. “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,” he said, effectively calling out the extremes of today’s cancel culture.
As for Rowling herself, Fiennes said that “we need to have those voices that risk being offensive.” He then made the connection that artists who “risk being offensive” are thusly creating art that “could shake the scenery, that could get inside us and make us angry and turn us on.”
“I would hate a world where the freedom of that kind of voice is stifled,” he concluded.
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At the moment, it appears that his only ally on this side of the debate is actor Robbie Coltrane, who portrayed Hagrid.
“I don’t think what she said was offensive really,” he told the Radio Times in September of last year. He then also took on cancel culture by adding, “There’s a whole Twitter generation of people who hang around waiting to be offended.”
Meanwhile, all three of the franchise’s young leads, Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint, have condemned Rowling’s repeated views. They’re joined by co-stars including Evanna Lynch, Katie Leung, Bonnie Wright, “Fantastic Beasts” star Eddie Redmayne and even Warner Bros., who makes the Wizarding World films.
“Transgender women are women,” said Radcliffe. “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.”
“Trans people are who they say they are and deserve to live their lives without being constantly questioned or told they aren’t who they say they are,” Watson concurred. Grint agreed with his co-stars, adding, “I firmly stand with the trans community and echo the sentiments expressed by many of my peers. Trans women are women. Trans men are men.”
Rowling’s journey into controversy began when she mocked a headline for not using the word “women” to describe “people who menstruate.” She then attempted to defend this stance, only making it worse with each subsequent essay.
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She insists she has been “empathetic to trans people for decades,” while at the same time denouncing hormones and surgery for young trans people, equating it to “conversion therapy for young gay people.”
She also jumped on the dangerous bandwagon of suggesting that policies allowing trans women to use women’s bathrooms are dangerous to cis women because “When you throw open the doors of bathrooms and changing rooms to any man who believes or feels he’s a woman, … then you open the door to any and all men who wish to come inside.”
This sentiment came to fruition through her work when her latest book, “Troubled Blood,” was published shortly after she made these comments about a male serial killer who dresses as a woman.
GLAAD also quickly condemned Rowling’s remarks, saying in a statement, “It seems J.K. is good at only one thing: writing fantasy. Her misinformed and dangerous missive about transgender people flies in the face of medical and psychological experts and devalues trans people accounts of their own lives.”
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