Following the backlash against Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling for transphobic views she’s expressed on Twitter, Warner Bros. Games president David Haddad has stated that Rowling “has the right to hold her opinions”.
Rowling, who has a history of commenting on controversial issues, tweeted on June 6, “If sex isn’t real, the lived reality of women globally is erased. I know and love trans people but erasing the concept of sex removes the ability of many to meaningfully discuss their lives.” She also criticized the use of the term “people who menstruate” which includes some trans men and non-binary people who also menstruate.
Rowling’s comments have been censured by GLAAD, who called them “cruel” and “anti-trans,” and some members of the Harry Potter cast have denounced Rowling’s views, including Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Bonnie Wright, and Katie Leung, as well as, Fantastic Beasts actor Eddie Redmayne.
Haddad’s defense of Rowling comes ahead of the launch of Hogwarts Legacy, an action RPG set in the late 1800s in the Wizarding World, which is due to be released in 2021.
“While J.K. Rowling is the creator of Harry Potter, and we are bringing that to life with the power of Portkey, in many places, she’s a private citizen also,” Haddad said. “And that means she’s entitled to express her personal opinion on social media. I may not agree with her, and I might not agree with her stance on a range of topics, but I can agree that she has the right to hold her opinions.”
Haddad also claims to be working to address diversity and inclusion within WB Games, saying he is working with LGBTQ+ rights organizations including GLAAD. In addition, he noted that J.K. Rowling was “not directly involved” in the development of Hogwarts Legacy, though she will presumably get royalties.
Daniel Radcliffe recently published an open letter through The Trevor Project, a non-profit focused on suicide prevention efforts among lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth, in response to Rowling’s comments.
“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 [J.K. Rowling] or I,” Radcliffe wrote.
Rowling’s latest book, Troubled Blood, is about a killer who dresses as a woman to get close to their victims.
Hogwarts Legacy, published by Warner under the Portkey Games label, will be released in 2021 for PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X and S, Xbox One consoles, and PC.
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