Bellatrix Lestrange in Harry Potter movies.

Helena Bonham Carter Supports Rowling, Depp Instead of Being a Decent Person

Every time someone comes out in “support” of J.K. Rowling, I have to ask myself one of two things: What were they told and why? The latest addition to the list of celebrities who think being transphobic is A-OK is Helena Bonham Carter, who played Bellatrix Lestrange in the Harry Potter series. Her comments on the subject were made during a conversation that also included Bonham Carter offering support for Johnny Depp (which isn’t surprising when you look at their long professional history together and the fact that he is the godfather to her children).

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Talking to The Times UK, Bonham Carter chose to decry “cancel culture” as a whole with a frankly terrifying statement: “Do you ban a genius for their sexual practices? There would be millions of people who if you looked closely enough at their personal life you would disqualify them,” Bonham Carter said. “You can’t ban people. I hate cancel culture. It has become quite hysterical and there’s a kind of witch hunt and a lack of understanding.”

Bonham Carter claimed in the interview that Johnny Depp has been “completely vindicated” following his recent trial, going on to make gross comments about Amber Heard, claiming she jumped on the #MeToo “bandwagon” because it was a “trend.” Her support for Depp and condemnation of Heard is disappointing but not exactly surprising—and neither is her support for J.K. Rowling.

“It’s horrendous, a load of bollocks,” she said of the pushback Rowling has faced for her open transphobia. “I think she has been hounded. She’s allowed her opinion, particularly if she’s suffered abuse. Everybody carries their own history of trauma and forms their opinions from that trauma and you have to respect where people come from and their pain. You don’t all have to agree on everything — that would be insane and boring. She’s not meaning it aggressively, she’s just saying something out of her own experience.”

It’s not just her “opinion,” it’s dangerous.

We’ve seen this over and over again. Time and time again we’ve heard from these actors who are either told “people are being mean to Jo online” and want to support her, or else just don’t seem to get why what she’s saying is dangerous. (Alternatively, some may just straight-up agree with her anti-trans views.)

Harry Potter stars Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint have all spoke out against Rowling, with Radcliffe recently saying he did so that fans who were hurt by Rowling’s remarks could still turn to the movies and find a home in them because he knew the importance they held. Watson has used her platform to uplift trans voices. Grint has commented on the “tricky” relationship he has with Rowling because he views her as an auntie but doesn’t agree with her views. The point is, they’ve all talked about how they don’t agree with her transphobic stance.

But Bonham Carter implied that their comments weren’t entirely genuine and suggested they were “protecting their fanbase.” She said: “Personally I feel they should let her have her opinions, but I think they’re very aware of protecting their own fan base and their generation.” Again, gross.

I don’t know why it is so hard to realize that there are people who want to use their platforms to protect and support trans voices. I don’t know why these celebrities feel the need to punch down in honor of someone they worked with over ten years ago but it is frustrating that they don’t seem to recognize that this isn’t just a matter of opinion. Trans women are women. Trans men are men. Non-binary people exist and deserve respect. And what J.K. Rowling continues to do is dangerous.

(image: Warner Bros.)


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Author
Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh. She has multiple podcasts, normally has opinions on any bit of pop culture, and can tell you can actors entire filmography off the top of her head. Her work at the Mary Sue often includes Star Wars, Marvel, DC, movie reviews, and interviews.