- Ralph Fiennes said that J.K. Rowling has sustained “verbal abuse” over her transphobic viewpoints.
- Rowling has come under fire in recent years for offensive comments about the trans community.
- Fiennes has made similar comments defending Rowling from the backlash in the past.
“Harry Potter” actor Ralph Fiennes, who played Voldemort in the film series, said that “verbal abuse” directed at J.K. Rowling following her history of transphobic comments is “disgusting.”
In an interview with the New York Times Magazine published October 22, Fiennes spoke about the controversy surrounding the author, who over the past several years has repeatedly made polarizing and offensive statements about trans women and sustained subsequent backlash both from other “Harry Potter” stars and members of the transgender community.
“The verbal abuse directed at her is disgusting, it’s appalling,” Fiennes told the New York Times Magazine. “I mean, I can understand a viewpoint that might be angry at what she says about women. But it’s not some obscene, über-right-wing fascist. It’s just a woman saying, ‘I’m a woman and I feel I’m a woman and I want to be able to say that I’m a woman.'”
In 2020, Rowling increasingly began to espouse controversial viewpoints about the transgender community on Twitter, with some labeling her as a “trans-exclusionary radical feminist” (“TERF”). In June 2020, she published a statement on her website with the caption “TERF wars” on Twitter in which she attempted to explain her previous statements. In it, as Insider previously reported, she made claims about trans people that both furthered potentially harmful myths and were not supported by data. In the past, the author has said that she had been threatened with violence on the basis of her comments.
In the wake of Rowling’s comments over the past several years, members of the “Harry Potter” film cast have distanced themselves from her, while some like Fiennes and the late Robbie Coltrane, who died in October, have spoken out in support. Rupert Grint and Daniel Radcliffe, who played Ron Weasley and Harry Potter in the films, have said that they don’t agree with Rowling’s views, while others like Katie Leung and Emma Watson, who played Cho Chang and Hermione Granger, tweeted their support for trans people amid the backlash against Rowling.
Rowling only appeared via archival footage in an HBO “Harry Potter” 20th Anniversary special titled “Return to Hogwarts,” and the special did not address her past remarks.
Fiennes has previously spoken about the backlash to Rowling, saying in a 2021 interview with the Telegraph that he couldn’t “understand the vitriol directed at her.”
“J.K. Rowling has written these great books about empowerment, about young children finding themselves as human beings,” Fiennes told the New York Times Magazine. “It’s about how you become a better, stronger, more morally centered human being.”