Eddie Redmayne, the star of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter spinoff franchise Fantastic Beasts, has spoken out against the Wizarding World architect after anti-trans comments she made on Twitter over the weekend.
“Respect for transgender people remains a cultural imperative, and over the years I have been trying to constantly educate myself. This is an ongoing process,” said the actor, who was Oscar nominated for his portrayal of Lili Elbe, a Danish transgender woman, in Focus Features’ The Danish Girl.
“As someone who has worked with both J.K. Rowling and members of the trans community, I wanted to make it absolutely clear where I stand. I disagree with Jo’s comments. Trans women are women, trans men are men and non-binary identities are valid. I would never want to speak on behalf of the community but I do know that my dear transgender friends and colleagues are tired of this constant questioning of their identities, which all too often results in violence and abuse. They simply want to live their lives peacefully, and it’s time to let them do so,” said Redmayne in a statement received by Deadline.
On Saturday, Rowling tweeted, drawing controversy, “If sex isn’t real, there’s no same-sex attraction. If sex isn’t real, the lived reality of women globally is erased. I know and love trans people, but erasing the concept of sex removes the ability of many to meaningfully discuss their lives. It isn’t hate to speak the truth…The idea that women like me, who’ve been empathetic to trans people for decades, feeling kinship because they’re vulnerable in the same way as women — ie, to male violence — ‘hate’ trans people because they think sex is real and has lived consequences — is a nonsense.”
Last year, Rowling was embroiled in a similar controversy for showing support for Maya Forstater, a researcher who stated that people cannot change their biological sex.
Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe criticized Rowling on Tuesday with a response on the Trevor Project website, writing: “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. According to The Trevor Project, 78% of transgender and nonbinary youth reported being the subject of discrimination due to their gender identity. It’s clear that we need to do more to support transgender and nonbinary people, not invalidate their identities, and not cause further harm.”
GLAAD also slammed Rowling’s remarks saying that they “willfully distorts facts about gender identity and people who are trans.”
Variety first had the news about Redmayne’s response to Rowling today.
Currently the production of the third Fantastic Beasts movie is on pause in the UK due to the COVID-19 global shutdown of feature film productions. The first two movies, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and Crimes of Grindelwald, together made $1.47 billion at the global box office.
We’ve reached out to Warner Bros for a statement on the Rowling controversy, and how it will impact the Wizarding World franchise. We’ll update you when we hear from them.