UPDATE 6/10 @ 9:10 p.m. ET: Warner Bros., the studio that produced the Harry Potter films, has responded with a statement. “The events in the last several weeks have firmed our resolve as a company to confront difficult societal issues,” the studio said to our sister publication Variety. “Warner Bros.’ position on inclusiveness is well established, and fostering a diverse and inclusive culture has never been more important to our company and to our audiences around the world. We deeply value the work of our storytellers who give so much of themselves in sharing their creations with us all. We recognize our responsibility to foster empathy and advocate understanding of all communities and all people, particularly those we work with and those we reach through our content,” they also said.
J.K Rowling has come under fire on Twitter after celebrities accused her of being transphobic in a series of tweets. Halsey, Sarah Paulson, and Harry Potter actor Katie Leung responded to the billionaire author after she took to Twitter on June 6. The controversy began when she commented on an article titled, “Opinion: Creating a more equal post-COVID-19 world for people who menstruate.” In response, she tweeted, “‘People who menstruate.’ I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?”
Twitter users were quick to slam her comments as “anti-trans” and “transphobic” because transgender people can also menstruate. However, the Harry Potter author didn’t stop there, following up her tweet with another comment, criticizing the notion that a person’s biological sense isn’t real. “If sex isn’t real, there’s no same-sex attraction. 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. It isn’t hate to speak the truth,” she wrote.
So, you want my thoughts on Cho Chang? Okay, here goes…(thread)
— Katie Leung (@Kt_Leung) June 7, 2020
She added, “The idea that women like me, who’ve been empathetic to trans people for decades, feeling kinship because they’re vulnerable in the same way as women — ie, to male violence – ‘hate’ trans people because they think sex is real and has lived consequences — is a nonsense,” J.K. said, adding, “I respect every trans person’s right to live any way that feels authentic and comfortable to them. I’d march with you if you were discriminated against on the basis of being trans. At the same time, my life has been shaped by being female. I do not believe it’s hateful to say so.”
GLAAD, an LGBTQ rights organization also responded to the writer’s comments, saying she aligned herself with an ideology that “willfully distorts facts about gender identity and people who are trans. In 2020, there is no excuse for targeting trans people.” The organization also listed several Black trans organizations accepting donations, and ended with a quip, “By the way, looking for some summer reading? “Percy Jackson” author Rick Riordan isn’t transphobic.”
Singer Halsey was quick to criticize the author’s comments. “Imagine writing a generation defining series about a youth uprisal that defeats a tyrannical monster motivated by the preservation of “pure blood” and looking at THIS time in the world and going ‘hmm…yep. I’m gonna invalidate trans people’,” she tweeted. Harry Potter star Katie Leung also responded, tweeting “So, you want my thoughts on Cho Chang? Okay, here goes…(thread),” which was followed by a series of links to resources and organizations to donate to. American Horror Story star Sarah Paulson also tweeted, “Goodnight and shut up.”