Professor McGonagall (Maggie Smith) peers over her glasses, looking unimpressed in 'Harry Potter'

HBO Exec’s Bad Excuse for New Harry Potter Series Contradicts Itself

Just when everyone thought we might finally be ridding ourselves of the Harry Potter franchise— Pottermore profits are dropping, Hogwarts Legacy players quickly abandoned the game, The Secrets of Dumbledore was a critical disaster—it’s back like a bad smell. HBO (soon to be Max) unveiled plans this week to adapt the seven original Harry Potter books into a series, and J.K. Rowling will be an executive producer. So we’re just gonna ignore her long campaign of transphobia, then?

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Well, the execs at Warner Bros. Discovery aren’t ignoring it, per se, but they decided to take what might be the worst possible route of all those available to them and offer a mealy-mouthed excuse. The studio announced the new series during a presentation touting the upcoming transition to Max, which was attended by members of the press. One reporter put the whole “hey, do you guys really want to be supporting a billionaire’s hate campaign?” question to Casey Bloys, head of Max and HBO Content, and received this response:

No, I don’t think this is the forum. That’s a very online conversation, very nuanced and complicated and not something we’re going to get into.

This statement immediately falls apart when you consider that many, many trans people out there would also have preferred not to “get into” the “conversation,” but were forced to when people like Rowling started advocating for taking their rights away. And it’s also deeply contradictory. Is this a “very online conversation” (i.e., something no one needs to pay much attention to), or is it a “very nuanced and complicated” one?

Obviously this does not bode well for this Harry Potter adaptation, which will also have to contend with Rowling’s history of racism and antisemitism—unless everyone involved decides those are “very online conversations” as well. Bloys did also have this to say:

Obviously, the ‘Harry Potter’ story is incredibly affirmative and positive and about love and self-acceptance. That’s our priority — what’s on screen.

is it any of those things, though? Really? And even if there was a time when it was, can it remain that way with Rowling being, in Bloys’ own words, “helpful” to this new show? She is, after all, not above completely warping aspects of her own work to suit herself.

‘No comment’ is not always helpful

Bloys isn’t the only Potter-affiliated person to state he’s staying out of the “conversation” surrounding Rowling’s transphobia. The subject of Rowling’s “views on gender identity” was put to Chris Columbus, director of the first two Harry Potter movies, by Variety magazine in 2021 and he gave the short answer, “I really don’t have any comment on that. I don’t want to get involved. Sorry.”

But on the plus side, the original Harry Potter leads—Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint— have all denounced Rowling’s behavior, with Radcliffe especially stepping up for the LGBT community despite endless backlash from TERFs. Sometimes, it is the forum and you do have to get involved.

(via IndieWire, featured image: Warner Bros.)

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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.