J.K. Rowling Talks Fear For Her ‘Safety’ After Comments About Trans Women, But Says Some Harry Potter Fans ‘Were Grateful’

Rowling at the premiere of Fantastic Beasts 3
(Image credit: Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images)

The Harry Potter franchise has been a vital part of pop culture for decades now, starting with J.K. Rowling’s novels and growing into the beloved movies, theme park attractions, video games, and even stage plays. But some fans have been backing away from the Wizarding World, thanks to the ongoing controversy surrounding author J.K. Rowling. And recently Rowling spoke about fearing for her “safety” after her infamous comments about transgender women, but says some Potter fans “were grateful.”

The controversy surrounding J.K. Rowling dates back years, and is focused on a number of tweets she posted which many deemed to be transphobic. The messaging was all more disheartening because so many queer people had identified with the story of Harry Potter, and it themes of other-ness and acceptance. As a result, the leading cast of Harry Potter has come out in support of the trans community, including Daniel Radcliffe. Rowling is participating in a new podcast which is called The Witch Trials of J.K. Rowling (opens in new tab), where she addressed fearing for her safety in the midst of this backlash. As she put it,

I absolutely knew that if I spoke out many people who had loved my books would be deeply unhappy with me. I knew that. I knew because I could see that they believed they were living the values that I espoused in those books. I could tell they believed they were fighting for underdog and difference and fairness. And I thought it would be easier not to, you know that this could be really bad. And honestly it has been bad. Personally, it has not been fun. And I have been scared at times for my safety and overwhelmingly for my family’s safety.

Since J.K. Rowling made her comments about sex and gender, theres’s been pretty consistent backlash online, with some Potter fans abandoning the Wizarding World altogether. But it seems that the online discourse has also made her fear for the safety of herself and her family. It’s likely for this reason that certain Harry Potter stars like Ralph Fiennes and Helena Bonham Carter have taken umbrage with the backlash.

Later in the newest episode of the podcast titled “The Tweets,” J.K. Rowling did admit that she could be wrong in her views about gender and sex. While she’s also doubled down in recent months, she claims to be well researched and informed in her views. In Rowling’s words:

Time will tell whether I’ve got this wrong. I can only say that I’ve thought about it deeply an dhard and long and I’ve listened, I promise, to the other side. And I believe absolutely that there is something dangerous about this movement and it must be challenged.

Despite the backlash that’s surrounding J.K. Rowling over recent years, she also claims that some corners of the Harry Potter fandom have actually praised her sentiments. Rowling’s controversial views also came with revelations she made about her own history with sexual assault. As the author/screenwriter put it: 

But at the same time, I have to tell you, a ton of Potter fans were still with me. And in fact, a ton of Potter fans were grateful that I’d said what I said.

There are more episodes of the podcast happening, where J.K. Rowling will further be able to share her side of the various controversies that surrounds her. Regardless, Warner Bros. has reaffirmed its commitment to working with Rowling on future Harry Potter projects. And if the video game sales for Hogwarts Legacy are any indication, there still are plenty of fans who haven’t abandoned the Wizarding World. Still, there are others who believe that Rowling is scapegoating the trans community, and targeting a demographic who is notoriously vulnerable.

It’s currently unclear when Harry Potter will return to theaters, as the Fantastic Beasts movies look like they’ve come to an early end. In the meantime, check out the 2023 movie release dates to plan your next movie experience. 

Corey Chichizola
Movies Editor

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Double majored in theater and literature during undergrad. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his favorite actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid.