Harry Potter Star Ralph Fiennes Defends J.K. Rowling Amid Controversy

“Harry Potter” star Ralph Fiennes is weighing in on the controversy surrounding J.K. Rowling.

In a recent interview with The New York Times, the 59-year-old actor defended the “Harry Potter” book series author — who has been embroiled in controversy over her stance on transgender issues — and condemned the “disgusting” abuse she’s received.

“J.K. Rowling has written these great books about empowerment, about young children finding themselves as human beings,” said Fiennes, who starred as Lord Voldemort in the “Harry Potter” film franchise. “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,” he added. “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.”

In more recent years, Rowling has become a problematic figure within the very fandom she created for her continuing comments about transgender women, which have led some to label her a TERF (trans-exclusionary radical feminist, a term for feminists who exclude transgender women from their advocacy).

The author has denied she’s transphobic, but repeatedly doubles down on her assertions equating transgender women to potential predators of women and bashing inclusive phrases like “people who menstruate” as eroding women “as a political and biological class.”

Rowling has received death threats in the past. In November 2021, she took to Twitter, writing that she’s “now received so many death threats I could paper the house with them, and I haven’t stopped speaking out.”

Back in August, she voiced her support for Salman Rushdie after “The Satanic Verses” author was attacked on stage while preparing to deliver a lecture in New York. Rowling shared the story to her Twitter feed with the message, “Horrifying news.”

She followed it up by adding, “Feeling very sick right now. Let him be okay.” One Twitter user  replied to her statement with the message, “don’t worry you are next.”

Rowling immediately posted a statement to Twitter, writing, “Any chance of support?” She continued by quoting the platform’s guidelines about threatening violence and promoting terrorism.

At the time, she said she was working with authorities after she received her death threat. Warner Bros. Discovery — which holds the Harry Potter license — later released a statement in support of Rowling, saying it “strongly condemns the threats made against” her.

Meanwhile, this isn’t the first time Fiennes has spoken out in defense of Rowling.

Speaking with The Telegraph in March 2021, the “Kingsman” star said that he “can’t understand the vitriol directed at her.”

“I can understand the heat of an argument,” Fiennes told the outlet. “But I find this age of accusation and the need to condemn irrational.”

“I find the level of hatred that people express about views that differ from theirs, and the violence of language towards others, disturbing,” he said, effectively calling out the extremes of today’s cancel culture.

As for Rowling herself, Fiennes said that “we need to have those voices that risk being offensive.” He then made the connection that artists who “risk being offensive” are thusly creating art that “could shake the scenery, that could get inside us and make us angry and turn us on.”

“I would hate a world where the freedom of that kind of voice is stifled,” he concluded.

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