J.K. Rowling Breaks Silence on Her Absence from Harry Potter 20th Anniversary Special

The author, who has become a controversial figure within the fandom due to her views on transgender women, says she was invited to be part of the HBO Max special.

While fans delighted in returning to the Wizarding World and seeing many of their favorites from the eight-part film franchise when HBO Max dropped “Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts,” there was one notable absence.

J.K. Rowling was notably absent from the January 1 special centered around characters and a whole world that she created in one of the most successful book series of all time.

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In more recent years, the author has become a problematic figure within the very fandom she created for her continuing comments about transgender women, which have led some to label her a TERF (trans-exclusionary radical feminist, a term for feminists who exclude transgender women from their advocacy).

Rowling has denied she’s transphobic, but repeatedly doubles down on her assertions equating transgender women to potential predators of women and bashing inclusive phrases like “people who menstruate” as eroding women “as a political and biological class.”

In a new interview with Graham Norton for his “Radio Show Podcast,” which was uploaded to YouTube, Rowling said that she was invited to be part of the special, and it was her decision to skip it.

“I was asked to be on that and I decided I didn’t want to do it,” she explained. And her reasoning had nothing to do with the controversy surrounding her views on transgender women. Instead, she explained, “I thought it was about the films more than the book, quite rightly, that was what the anniversary was about.”

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While Rowling denies that she is transphobic in her feminism, she is also not unaware of the negative reactions her reassertions of her views keep bringing up. Nevertheless, she insists that “no one said don’t come.”

During her chat with Norton, Rowling was asked if she still has a relationship with the young stars her franchise made into household names.

“I have. Yes, I do,” she told Norton without mentioning any names specifically. “I mean, some more than others, but that was always the case. You know some I knew better than others.”

Some of those young voices were among the first to condemn Rowling’s comments, including all three “Potter” stars Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint, as well as “Fantastic Beasts” lead Eddie Redmayne.

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Watson took to social media to defend transgender women, writing that “trans people are who they say they are.” Radcliffe wrote a full essay for The Trevor Project on the matter, asserting that “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 Jo or I,” he wrote.

“It’s clear that we need to do more to support transgender and nonbinary people, not invalidate their identities, and not cause further harm,” Radcliffe added.

Other “Potter” stars like Ralph Fiennes and Robbie Coltrane have defended Rowling. “I can’t understand the vitriol directed at her,” Fiennes told The Telegraph in March 2021.

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“I can understand the heat of an argument, but I find this age of accusation and the need to condemn irrational,” said Fiennes at the time. “I find the level of hatred that people express about views that differ from theirs, and the violence of language towards others, disturbing.”

Speaking of her own social media presence, where she first stumbled into this controversy back in June 2020, Rowling said, “I try to behave online as I would like others to behave… I’ve never threatened anyone. I certainly wouldn’t want anyone to go to their houses or anything like that.”

She admitted, however, that she does like the ability to verbally spar online, saying, “Social media can be a lot of fun, and I do like the pub argument aspect of it.”

“I sort of have a love-hate relationship with it now,” the author explained. “I can happily go for a few days without getting into a [social media] pub brawl.”

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