Actor Ralph Fiennes, who played Voldemort in the film adaptations of J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter” series, said he supported the author after she faced backlash for remarks criticizing transgender people.
In a Wednesday interview with The Telegraph promoting his new touring theatrical adaptation of T.S. Eliot’s “The Four Quartets,” Fiennes commented on the backlash Rowling has faced in the last year after sharing controversial and sometimes outright transphobic thoughts about biological sex, gender identity, and transgender people’s rights to bodily autonomy, under the guise of feminism.
“I can’t understand the vitriol directed at her,” Fiennes 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.”
Fiennes isn’t the only “Harry Potter” cast member to back J.K. Rowling — Hagrid actor Robbie Coltrane said in a radio interview, “I don’t think what she said was offensive really.” Coltrane added, “I don’t know why, but there’s a whole Twitter generation of people who hang around waiting to be offended. They wouldn’t have won the war, would they?”
Daniel Radcliffe and his co-stars Emma Watson and Rupert Grint have openly condemned her views. Warner Bros. also spoke out against her comments and said in a statement last June, “we recognize our responsibility to foster empathy and advocate understanding of all communities and all people.”
In a letter he published on LGBTQ health organization The Trevor Project’s website, Radcliffe rebuked all of Rowling’s comments, which included the assertion that transgender women weren’t women, and that anyone who menstruated is a woman, which invalidates the validity of any trans-masculine person who might still get their period.
“Transgender women are women,” Radcliffe wrote. “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.”
“Trans people are who they say they are and deserve to live their lives without being constantly questioned or told they aren’t who they say they are,” Watson wrote on Twitter. “I want my trans followers to know that I and so many other people around the world see you, respect you and love you for who you are.”