Daniel Radcliffe in the 'Harry Potter' film series

Daniel Radcliffe Speaks Out After J.K. Rowling’s Bizarre Attack

J.K. Rowling, the once-beloved author of Harry Potter, has thoroughly burnt the bridge between her and the man who brought Harry to life. She may have known Daniel Radcliffe since he was a young child, but as soon as he expressed a wish to not demonize a marginalized community, it was all over.

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Rowling is a self-declared TERF, or trans-exclusive radical feminist (to be honest, feminism doesn’t really factor into it) and for the past couple of years she’s talked about little else but trans women and the false, baseless threats she claims they pose to cis women. It’s frustrating, exhausting, and infuriating – especially when she goes so far as to rewrite history and deny that the Nazi regime targeted trans people.

But the young stars of the Harry Potter franchise—aka the people who helped make Rowling a billionaire in the first place—don’t agree with her views at all. Plenty of them have spoken out about their support for trans people, especially Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson—and they did so despite getting labeled “ungrateful” by right-wing media outlets.

Rowling clearly hates that the Potter cast isn’t on her side. She made that clear in a social media post on April 10th. Notably, she was replying to someone with “Far Right Hooligan” in their name.

“Just waiting for Dan [Radcliffe] and Emma [Watson] to give you a very public apology … safe in the knowledge that you will forgive them,” wrote the user who, again, self-identifies as being on the far-right. Rowling wrote back, “Not safe, I’m afraid. Celebs who cosied up to a movement intent on eroding women’s hard-won rights and who used their platforms to cheer on the transitioning of minors can save their apologies for traumatised detransitioners and vulnerable women reliant on single sex spaces.”

But Daniel Radcliffe, at least, isn’t asking for forgiveness. He’s been a class act since Rowling’s descent into transphobia and has done plenty to reassure fans that—as Rowling herself used to say before her downfall—no one should have to live in a closet. After Rowling first “came out” as a TERF, he released a statement to LGBTQA suicide prevention nonprofit The Trevor Project, saying:

“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.”

After Rowling’s most recent spiel, Radcliffe didn’t respond right away, but now he’s offered up his thoughts after being asked for them by The Atlantic. He’s very calm and collected about the situation.

“Obviously Harry Potter would not have happened without [Rowling], so nothing in my life would have probably happened the way it is without that person,” he said. “But that doesn’t mean that you owe the things you truly believe to someone else for your entire life.” Yet there’s a worrying amount of people out there who really do seem to believe that Radcliffe should kowtow to Rowling, a woman he met when he was a child, for the rest of his career. “There’s a version of ‘Are these three kids [Radcliffe, Watson, and co-star Rupert Grint] ungrateful brats?’ that people have always wanted to write, and they were finally able to. So, good for them, I guess ” he said.

Speaking about his decision to release the statement to the Trevor Project, Radcliffe said, “I’d worked with the Trevor Project for 12 years and it would have seemed like, I don’t know, immense cowardice to me to not say something. I wanted to try and help people that had been negatively affected by the comments. And to say that if those are Jo’s views, then they are not the views of everybody associated with the Potter franchise.”

Ultimately, the severed ties with Rowling—they haven’t spoken in years—made the actor “really sad.” He said, “I do look at the person that I met, the times that we met, and the books that she wrote, and the world that she created, and all of that is to me so deeply empathic.” And he concluded, “I will continue to support the rights of all LGBTQ people, and have no further comment than that.”

(featured image: Warner Bros.)


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Author
Sarah Barrett
Sarah Barrett (she/her) is a freelance writer with The Mary Sue who has been working in journalism since 2014. She loves to write about movies, even the bad ones. (Especially the bad ones.) The Raimi Spider-Man trilogy and the Star Wars prequels changed her life in many interesting ways. She lives in one of the very, very few good parts of England.