Harry Potter Star Ralph Fiennes Doubles Down on JK Rowling Defense

Harry Potter film star Ralph Fiennes once again defends J.K. Rowling. Fiennes main villain Lord Voldemort in four of the Harry Potter films, making his first appearance in 2005’s Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Fiennes also appeared in Harry Potter’s 20th anniversary special Return to Hogwarts, which premiered earlier this year on HBO Max. Rowling did not appear in the 20th anniversary special, claiming that she was invited and turned it down due to her perception that the event was focused more on the movies than the books.

Despite her status as a beloved author for decades due to her work on the Harry Potter series, Rowling has been wrapped up in controversy in recent years. Most notable has been Rowling’s staunch anti-transgender rhetoric, wherein she’s made statements mocking the phrase “people who menstruate” and even written a lengthy blog post-essay regarding her controversial opinions about the transgender community. Despite all the pushback, Rowling has not formally apologized but instead doubled down on her statements. At the time, Fiennes offered his defense of Rowling, mentioned that he found the hatred towards her “disturbing,” explaining that people should be able to discuss differing opinions in a more civil manner.

Now, Fiennes speaks out in support of Rowling once more in a recent interview with NYT. Fiennes first mentioned that the Harry Potter series includes “great books about empowerment” whose themes are “about how you become a better, stronger, more morally centered human being.” With that, he echoed his previous statement, calling the “verbal abuse” against Rowling “disgusting” and “appalling.” Check out the full statement from Fiennes below:

“J.K. Rowling has written these great books about empowerment, about young children finding themselves as human beings. It’s about how you become a better, stronger, more morally centered human being. The verbal abuse directed at her is disgusting, it’s appalling. 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.’ And I understand where she’s coming from. Even though I’m not a woman.”

While Fiennes seems to not back down on his support of Rowling and upset at the vitriolic backlash (which have included death threats, though mostly have been directed at support the transgender community), Fiennes seems to be in the minority among the Harry Potter cast members. While few have outright condemned Rowling herself, many of the former Harry Potter stars took to social media to speak out in support of the transgender community, negating Rowling’s claims. Daniel Radcliffe mentioned to fans in the time that he hopes that those who have held the books dear will not completely forget about the power the books had on them. Some actors have taken more combative approaches, including Miriam Margoyles, who called Rowling’s views “fascist.”

With Fiennes’ most recent statement, the actor adds more fuel to the fire regarding the debate about Rowling’s viewpoints. He is not completely alone in his viewpoint, as Hagrid actor Robbie Coltrane has also spoken out in defense of Rowling. With so many against her anti-trans statements and other controversial actions such as retroactively changing the Harry Potter canon and supporting anti-trans legislation, however, Fiennes’ opinion cannot sway the viewpoint of the masses, who recognize the harm in Rowling’s words. Rowling has been canceled by many. With such a large community condemning Rowling, it will be interesting to see how people respond to Fiennes’ latest comments about the Harry Potter author.

Source: The New York Times

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