Radcliffe: JK Rowling's Stance 'Makes Me Really Sad'

Actor talks the rift, why he felt compelled to speak out in defense of transgender people
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted May 1, 2024 11:50 AM CDT
Radcliffe: I Haven't Spoken to JK Rowling Since 2020 Tweets
Actor Daniel Radcliffe is seen at the 92nd Street Y on March 28 in New York.   (Photo by Andy Kropa/Invision/AP)

Harry Potter actor Daniel Radcliffe hasn't spoken with author JK Rowling since she expressed her view that transgender women are not women, the actor reveals in a new interview with the Atlantic, while disputing the idea of him as an "ungrateful brat." "Obviously Harry Potter would not have happened without [Rowling], so nothing in my life would have probably happened the way it is without that person. But that doesn't mean that you owe the things you truly believe to someone else for your entire life," he says. Radcliffe responded publicly to Rowling's comments in 2020, saying they erase "the identity and dignity of transgender people."

He now says he sought to reassure those people "who were dealing with feeling closeted or rejected by their family or living with a secret" and "found some solace" in the Harry Potter story. "I'd worked with [LGBTQ suicide prevention charity] the Trevor Project for 12 years and it would have seemed like, I don't know, immense cowardice to me to not say something," he says. Still, "it makes me really sad, ultimately, because I do look at the person that I met, the times that we met, and the books that she wrote, and the world that she created, and all of that is to me so deeply empathic," says Radcliffe.

In response to a question from an X user about her rift with Radcliffe last month, Rowling suggested she would not be quick to forgive "celebs who cozied up to a movement intent on eroding women's hard-won rights and who used their platforms to cheer on the transitioning of minors." The Guardian notes Radcliffe's comments are "the first published remarks by one of the principal cast in the Potter series since the publication of the Cass Review," an independent review of gender identity services in England, which found "no good evidence on the long-term outcomes of interventions to manage gender-related distress." (See a "complete breakdown" of the controversy surrounding Rowling here.)

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