J. K. Rowling had a nonchalant response to criticism about her involvement on the upcoming Harry Potter TV series.
“Dreadful news, which I feel duty bound to share,” the author, 57, wrote via Twitter on Friday, April 21. “Activists in my mentions are trying to organise [sic] yet another boycott of my work, this time of the Harry Potter TV show. As forewarned is forearmed, I’ve taken the precaution of laying in a large stock of champagne.”
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Warner Bros. Discovery announced in April that Rowling’s beloved book series — which was previously adapted into an eight-movie film franchise — would be reimagined for the small screen. “We are delighted to give audiences the opportunity to discover Hogwarts in a whole new way,” said Casey Bloys — cchairman and CEO of HBO & Max Content — in a presentation earlier this month. “Harry Potter is a cultural phenomenon and it is clear there is such an enduring love and thirst for the Wizarding World.”
Rowling will serve as an executive producer on the show, which is described as a “decade-long series” following a cast of all-new actors. “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 long form television series,” Rowling said in an April statement about the series.
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Fans’ decision to boycott the show comes after Rowling’s many controversies over the years, namely her comments regarding transgender women. The Ickabog author came under fire in December 2019 for tweeting her support of British researcher Maya Forstater, who was fired from her job after sharing transphobic comments online.
“Dress however you please. Call yourself whatever you like. Sleep with any consenting adult who’ll have you. Live your best life in peace and security,” Rowling wrote at the time. “But force women out of their jobs for stating that sex is real? #IStandWithMaya #ThisIsNotADrill.”
The England native — who shares daughter Jessica, 29, with ex-husband Jorge Arantes, as well as son David, 20, and daughter Mackenzie, 18, with husband Neil Murray — doubled down on her words via a blog post essay shared in June 2020.
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“I knew perfectly well what was going to happen when I supported Maya. I must have been on my fourth or fifth cancellation by then,” Rowling explained. “I expected the threats of violence, to be told I was literally killing trans people with my hate, to be called c—t and bitch and, of course, for my books to be burned, although one particularly abusive man told me he’d composted them.”
Noting that she had been dubbed a “TERF,” which stands for Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminist, the writer added that she had received “positive, grateful and supportive” messages regarding her opinions.
Rowling’s words — and her similar comments in years since — have sparked debate among the Wizarding World fan community, as well as the film series’ stars. Actors such as Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Bonnie Wright, Eddie Redmayne and more have shared their support for the transgender community, while Helena Bonham Carter, Robbie Coltrane and Ralph Fiennes have gone on to defend Rowling.
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Amid the backlash, the Fantastic Beats and Where to Find Them writer returned an award she received from the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights organization in August 2022. She also skipped out on HBO Max’s Harry Potter 20th anniversary special, Return to Hogwarts, which was released on New Year’s Day in 2022.
“I was asked to be on that, yeah, and I decided I didn’t want to do it,” Rowling told host Graham Norton on an episode of “The Graham Norton Radio Show with Waitrose” in August 2022. “I thought it was about the films more than the book — quite rightly. I mean, that was what the anniversary was about.”
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