All the “Ungrateful” ‘Harry Potter’ Actors Who Have Spoken Out Against J.K. Rowling
If anyone out there still has love in their heart for the Harry Potter movies, it’s most likely because of the cast, not because of J.K. Rowling. She became a TERF while the kids who were the face of her franchise thankfully did not. In fact, a great many of the Potter actors (some of who went on to become huge names) opted to be allies to the trans community and condemn Rowling’s transphobia.
Unfortunately, because of the complete state of the world right now, this has led people to dub the actors—especially Radcliffe, since he’s probably the most visible of the ex-child stars—”ungrateful” and worse. Back in 2020, Labour MP Rosie Duffield called the young members of the cast “incredibly rude” for not agreeing with their one-time friend/mentor because, if you once worked with someone who helped you get a foot on the ladder, you’re then honor-bound to support and praise them for the rest of your life. I see no red flags whatsoever in that way of thinking!
From insults to conspiracy theories, apparently there’s no bar TERFs won’t go under. But, at the end of the day, none of these people owe Rowling anything. So, let’s celebrate the members of Harry Potter cast who stood on the right side of history as trans allies!
Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter)
DanRad was among the first to state his support of trans people when it was clear his former associate was beyond the point of no return. Radcliffe has a long history working with The Trevor Project, which supports LGBTQ+ youth, and, in June 2020, he released a statement via that charity stating:
“While Jo is unquestionably responsible for the course my life has taken, as someone who has been honored to work with and continues to contribute to The Trevor Project for the last decade, and just as a human being, I feel compelled to say something at this moment.
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.”
During an interview with IndieWire, Radcliffe explained why his decision to make a statement, saying “I’ve met so many queer and trans kids and young people who had a huge amount of identification with Potter on that. And so seeing them hurt on that day I was like, I wanted them to know that not everybody in the franchise felt that way. And that was really important.” And it truly was was.
Emma Watson (Hermione Granger)
UN Women Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson condemned Rowling’s “coming out” as a TERF by tweeting, “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. I want my trans followers to know that I and so many other people around the world see you, respect you and love you for who you are.” In a separate Tweet she added links to the charities Mermaids and Mama Cash.
Two years later, Watson declared “I’m here for all the witches” at that year’s BAFTAs, which got her called, you guessed it, “ungrateful” by the British right-wing.
Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley)
Rupert Grint released a statement standing with the trans community in June 2020, just as the other two of the “Golden Trio” had done. In a statement to Us Weekly, Grint said “I firmly stand with the trans community. Trans women are women. Trans men are men. We should all be entitled to live with love and without judgment.”
In January 2022, Grint explained his relationship to Rowling The Times saying, “I liken J.K. Rowling to an auntie. I don’t necessarily agree with everything my auntie says, but she’s still my auntie. It’s a tricky one.” Depressingly, many of us have been there.
Bonnie Wright (Ginny Weasley)
Bonnie Wright, the actress who played Harry’s eventual wife Ginny Weasley, tweeted in June 2020, “If Harry Potter was a source of love and belonging for you, that love is infinite and there to take without judgment or question. Transwomen are Women. I see and love you, Bonnie x.”
She’s not taking questions about her statement anymore—in 2022, she told The Times, “I made that comment then and I still stand with that same feeling, but it’s got to the point where I prefer not to comment more.”
Harry Melling (Dudley Dursley)
It turns out Harry Melling is not as mean spirited as Dudley Dursely in real life. During an interview with The Independent, Melling stated:
“I can only speak for myself, and what I feel, to me, is very simple, which is that transgender women are women and transgender men are men.
Every single person has the right to choose who they are and to identify themselves as what’s true to themselves. I don’t want to join the debate of pointing fingers and saying, ‘That’s right, that’s wrong,’ because I don’t think I’m the correct spokesperson for that. But I do believe that everybody has the right to choose.”
David Tennant (Barty Crouch Jr)
The man who would become The Doctor on Doctor Who (twice!!!) is known as a staunch LGBTQ+ ally and has been spotted wearing a non-binary pin during TV appearances. While David Tennant has never commented directly about Rowling, but this image tweeted by a fan who met him in 2023 makes it pretty clear where he stands.
Eddie Redmayne (Newt Scamander)
Eddie Redmayne—a cis man who played a trans woman in The Danish Girl—made a statement to Variety magazine in 2020 denouncing Rowling’s comments, stating:
“As someone who has worked with both J.K. Rowling and members of the trans community, I wanted to make it absolutely clear where I stand. 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.”
Unfortunately, the strength of that statement was diluted less than a year later when he spoke up for Rowling, and to the terrifyingly anti-trans newspaper The Daily Mail no less. Still, in the same interview, he did say, “There continues to be a hideous torrent of abuse towards trans people online and out in the world that is devastating,” which is something at least.
Katherine Waterston (Tina Goldstein)
The day after Rowling returned her Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Ripple of Hope Award (seeing as that organization had, too, denounced her) Katherine Waterston posted a Guardian article to her Instagram story with the headline that read, “Trans women pose no threat to cis women, but we pose a threat to them if we make them outcasts.” In June 2021, Waterston elaborated on why she posted the Instagram story to The Independent stating, “I think because I was associated with a film project, because I was associated with Fantastic Beasts, it felt important to communicate my position. One wondered if they might be grouped in with other people’s views by association.”
Some people have wondered if Waterston’s screen time in the Fantastic Beasts franchise was reduced because her opposition to Rowling’s transphobia.
Katie Leung (Cho Chang)
Katie Leung responded to Rowling’s 2020 comments with a Twitter thread that began “So, you want my thoughts on Cho Chang? Okay, here goes…” before posting a thread full of petitions and gofundmes that supported Black trans people. She finished it with the hashtag “#AsiansForBlackLives.”
A year later, Leung spoke to the podcast Chinese Chippy Girl about the racism she experienced from the Harry Potter fandom.
Chris Rankin (Percy Weasley)
Chris Rankin praised his “beautiful, brave, strong, trans friends” in June 2020 in a tweet that read, “We love you. I can’t say it enough. You’re wonderful, and deserve to be treated as such. Please know that. Be proud of who you are. We are proud of you.”
(featured image: Warner Bros.)
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