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'Harry Potter' actor Ralph Fiennes calls backlash against J.K. Rowling's trans comments 'disturbing'

Raechal Shewfelt
·Editor, Yahoo Entertainment
·2 min read
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Ralph Fiennes was stunned by the backlash against Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling over her comments on the transgender community.

"I can't understand the vitriol directed at her," Fiennes, who played the evil Lord Voldemort in four movies about the boy wizard, told The Telegraph. "I can understand the heat of an argument, 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."

Rowling has upset people — including some of her readers — for her public statements on the subject, which have been called out by LGBTQ advocacy organization GLAAD. In June 2020, for example, Rowling shared an opinion piece that someone had written referring to "people who menstruate," captioning it, "I'm sure there used to be a word for those people."

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After she received backlash, the writer responded by saying that she loves trans people, but that "erasing the concept of sex removes the ability of many to meaningfully discuss their lives." She described herself as a person who'd "been empathetic to trans people for decades."

LGBTQ supporters saw it much differently, and they continued to push back, as Rowling kept serving up equally controversial views on the subject. For instance, she expressed concern about the number of young women seeking to transition. As a result, Rowling said she experienced "death and rape threats."

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Several cast members of the Harry Potter franchise, including Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint and Eddie Redmayne, issued statements supporting the trans community in response. "Transgender women are women," Radcliffe wrote in a letter published by the Trevor Project. "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 Jo or I."

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