The stars of the Harry Potter films will reunite for a 20-year anniversary special on HBO, minus author JK Rowling. Fans and commenters wondered if Rowling’s absence had anything to do with her views on transgender issues.
‘Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone’ premiered 20 years ago this week, catapulting actors Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson to superstardom. Warner Bros announced on Tuesday that the three stars – as well as a whole range of supporting actors from the franchise – will travel back to Hogwarts for an “enchanting making-of story” airing on New Year’s Day, entitled ‘Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts’.
Conspicuously absent from the production is author JK Rowling. A Warner Bros’ press release made no mention of Rowling, and a lengthy Instagram post by actress Emma Watson thanked fans and fellow cast members, but also made no mention of Rowling, whom other Harry Potter actors said they “owe everything” to.
Rowling’s PR team did not comment on the author’s absence, and the Hollywood Reporter claimed that the author will only appear in the show in archival footage.
Commentators online reckoned that Rowling had been canceled from the retrospective special due to her high-profile clashes with transgender activists. A self-described feminist, Rowling has spoken out against gender-neutral language, arguing that it “erases” the concept of sex and therefore the concept of womanhood. She has also stated that sex is a binary concept, and argued against gender-neutral bathrooms, claiming that by allowing men into women’s bathrooms, women are made less safe.
If I owed my entire career to 1 person, if I’d known her since I was 8, if I was worth $90m because of her, then not only would I defend her when maligned but I would refuse to take part in any reunion that excluded her.
But that’s just me. #JKRowling https://t.co/0ay5mhQ1FE
— John Boyne 📚 (@john_boyne) November 17, 2021
There is not Harry Potter without JK Rowling. You shocks all hang your heads in shame.
— Bernie’s Tweets (@BernieSpofforth) November 17, 2021
I can’t believe they’re actually shunning JK Rowling
“No you can’t participate in something celebrating the world you made because we are the new Amish but with more Puritan soul and no redeeming features”.
— Lorelei 🌕🧙♀️🕸🍄🦖 (@hatpinwoman) November 17, 2021
Rowling’s comments on gender issues generated intense backlash from LGBT organizations, and death and rape threats from the most zealous transgender ideologues online. Actors Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson also both spoke out against Rowling’s defense of biological sex last year, with Radcliffe declaring that “transgender women are women,” and apologizing to upset fans “for the pain [Rowling’s] comments have caused you.”
“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 chimed in.
Rowling has repeatedly stated that she is against anti-trans discrimination, but would not change her position on sex. “I refuse to bow down to a movement that I believe is doing demonstrable harm in seeking to erode ‘woman’ as a political and biological class and offering cover to predators like few before it,” she wrote last year.
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