Here's How J.K. Rowling's Platform Exacerbates Her Damaging Words
Content Warning: This article contains discussions about, and examples of, J.K. Rowling's transphobic, racist and otherwise bigoted remarks and writings.
With over 500 million copies sold worldwide, Harry Potter is the best-selling book series in history. But itâs more than just a chart-topper: The childrenâs book series about the titular Boy Who Lived is a global phenomenon â and has been for over two decades. A generation grew up not just reading the books, but also grew up alongside Harry and his friends. Needless to say, the series holds a special place in fansâ hearts.
From the nostalgia to the feeling of belonging to the learning to love reading, there are so many components of the series that make it compelling. Not to mention, the book series spawned a multi-billion-dollar eight-film franchise, a hugely successful two-part Broadway play, a series of spin-off films and books, countless pieces of merchandise and several cutting-edge, wholly immersive theme parks. But, as I mentioned before, the first book in the series is more than 20 years old. At a certain point, itâs time to let the past go â and Iâm not directing this notion at fans necessarily (though, yes, letâs stop comparing every real-world event to a Harry Potter character â thanks, Twitter). This is aimed at J.K. Rowling, who just canât seem to leave well enough alone.
More than that, sheâs actively eroding all of that goodwill she generated â all of that deep-seated fan admiration. Not only is she constantly retconning information and feeding fans new (unnecessary) tidbits of information every time sheâs out of the news cycle for too long, but she has also become more aggressive with her personal, bigoted stances, making it near-impossible for millions of fans to separate the upsetting artist from the once-beloved work.
Most recently, J.K. Rowling decided to tweet several anti-transgender tirades and more explicitly aligned herself with fellow TERFs â trans-exclusionary radical feminists. For those paying attention, her transphobia isnât new, but itâs certainly gotten more aggressive and, because she has such a large platform, downright impossible to ignore.
Another frustrating factor? She canât take criticism, nor does she show much interest in being held accountable for her harmful rhetoric. Instead, she became vocal about an open letter in Harperâs that she and over 100 other public figures and writers signed. Hannah Giorgis of The Atlantic perhaps described it best, writing, "Many prominent writers and thinkers seem invested in the notion that simply facing strong public criticism is a threat to free speech."