JK Rowling says she knew views on transgender issues would make Harry Potter fans ‘deeply unhappy’ | Ents & Arts News

JK Rowling has said she “absolutely knew” her comments and views on transgender issues would make some Harry Potter fans “deeply unhappy”.

The author said despite the enormous backlash to a 2019 tweet there were “a tonne of Potter fans that were grateful that I said what I said”.

Speaking on the latest episode of the podcast The Witch Trials of JK Rowling, she discussed the tweet, in which she expressed support for tax expert Maya Forstater, and the subsequent fallout.

Ms Forstater lost her job over her own tweets about transgender people and later took the case to an employment tribunal on the grounds her dismissal constituted discrimination against her beliefs.

At the time Rowling tweeted: “Dress however you please. Call yourself whatever you like. Sleep with any consenting adult who’ll have you. Live your best life in peace and security.

“But force women out of their jobs for stating that sex is real? #IStandWithMaya #ThisIsNotADrill.”

Speaking on the podcast the 57-year-old admitted it would have been “easier” to not wade in on the debate.

“When I first became interested and then deeply troubled by what I saw as a cultural movement that was liberal in its methods and was very questionable in its ideas, I absolutely knew that if I spoke out, many folks would be deeply unhappy with me,” she said.

“I knew that because I knew… that they believe they were living the values that I had espoused in those books. I could tell that they believed they were fighting for underdogs and difference and fairness.

“And I thought it would be easier not to, you know, that this could be really bad. And honestly, it has been bad personally, it has not been fun.

“I have been scared at times for my own safety, and overwhelmingly for my family’s safety.”

Harry potter

‘Time will tell whether I’ve got this wrong’

She added: “Time will tell whether I’ve got this wrong. I can only say that I’ve thought about it deeply and hard and long. And I’ve listened, I promise, to the other side.

“And I believe, absolutely, that there is something dangerous about this movement, and it must be challenged.”

Rowling said she had been “considerate enough” to inform her management team she was about to post her initial tweet “because I knew it’s going to cause a massive storm”.

The author received thousands of replies to her tweet from fans expressing their disappointment and disgust in her.

The stars from left to right; Rupert Grint, Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson with the author J K Rowling arrive for world premiere of 'Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone at the Odeon Leicester Square in London.
The film franchise made stars out of Emma Watson, Daniel Radcliffe and Rupert Grint

‘My position is that I’m absolutely upholding the positions that I took in Potter’

Stars of the franchise including Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint also spoke out publicly in opposition of her views on gender.

“I’m constantly told that I have betrayed my own books, but my position is that I’m absolutely upholding the positions that I took in Potter,” Rowling said.

“My position is that this activist movement in the form that it’s currently taking, echoes the very thing that I was warning against in Harry Potter.”

‘A tonne of Potter fans are grateful that I said what I said’

She added: “But at the same time, I have to tell you, a tonne of Potter fans were still with me.

“In fact, a tonne of Potter fans are grateful that I said what I said.”

She said the lack of willingness by many to engage with her on the issue was “intellectually incredibly cowardly”.

“I am fighting what I see, as a powerful, insidious misogynistic movement that I think has gained huge purchase in very influential areas of society. I do not see this particular movement as either benign or powerless,” she said.

“So I’m afraid I stand with the women who are fighting to be heard against threat of loss of livelihood and threats to their personal safety.”