HBO Chief Says J.K. Rowling’s Insights on ‘Harry Potter’ Series Will Be ‘Helpful,’ but Sidesteps Anti-Trans Controversy

“Our priority is what’s on screen,” Casey Bloys told reporters at the Max unveiling event

J.K. Rowling Salman Rushdie Death Threat
J.K. Rowling provides update after receiving online death threat. (Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images)

Upon the announcement of a “Harry Potter” TV series reboot with author J.K. Rowling attached to executive produce, HBO CEO Casey Bloys said the author’s insights will be “incredibly helpful,” meanwhile sidestepping the controversy surrounding Rowling’s string of anti-trans comments.

“She will be involved; she’s an executive producer on the show and I think her insights are going to be incredibly helpful on that,” Bloys told press during the Q&A portion of Warner Bros. Discovery’s unveiling of the Max streaming service, adding that the streamer feels “comfortable” delving further into the Wizarding World after being in the “‘Potter’ business for 20 years.”

When asked directly about Rowling’s controversial comments surrounding trans identity and rights, Bloys responded that the dialogue surrounding Rowling “is a very online conversation obviously [and] very nuanced and complicated,” before redirecting comments to the streamer’s recent “Harry Potter” announcement.

“Our priority is what’s on screen,” Bloys continued. “Obviously the ‘Harry Potter’ story is incredibly formative and positive and about love and self-acceptance.”

At the Warner Bros. Discovery event, the streamer’s plans for the “Harry Potter” series adaptation were unveiled, which will adapt Rowling’s seven novels with a cast of new actors in the beloved roles and will run for 10 years. The announcement also confirmed Rowling’s involvement as an executive producer for the series.

“Max’s commitment to preserving the integrity of my books is important to me, and I’m looking forward to being part of this new adaptation which will allow for a degree of depth and detail only afforded by a longform television series,” Rowling said in a statement announcing the series.

After news of Rowling’s anti-trans comments brought the author under fire, fans and members of the film series’ cast alike have distanced themselves from Rowling, with Emma Watson tweeting her support for the trans community shortly after Rowling’s comments circulated. In July 2022, Quidditch, the real-life game played by wizards in “Harry Potter,” cut ties with Rowling by rebranding to quadball.

“We are delighted to give audiences the opportunity to discover Hogwarts in a whole new way,” Bloys in a statement. “‘Harry Potter’ is a cultural phenomenon and it is clear that there is such an enduring love and thirst for the Wizarding World. In a partnership with Warner Bros. Television and J.K. Rowling, this new Max Original series will dive deep into each of the iconic books that fans have continued to enjoy for all of these years.”