COMMENT:

Daniel Radcliffe wasn't having it.

The star of Harry Potter, who was hand-picked by film producers at the age of 11 to play the most famous boy wizard in the world, wasn't going to let JK Rowling's latest comments go unchecked.

The author and creator of Harry Potter, Hogwarts and all things magical, had recently fired off a series of transphobic tweets, arguing against the right of trans women to identify as women.

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Radcliffe's statement was a balm to all the Harry Potter fans who have felt increasingly isolated by Rowling's comments and opinions over the years.

Because not only has the author – who has an estimated fortune of $1.45 billion and has sold more than 500 million copies of her books – frequently made transphobic statements, she has also controversially spoken up in support of the casting of Johnny Depp in the Fantastic Beasts film franchise, despite accusations of domestic abuse against him by Depp's former spouse Amber Heard.

Rowling has been accused of cultural appropriation and racism in her work. Rowling has also, to the initial bemusement and eventual frustration of Harry Potter fans, sought to rewrite the history of her books to include more progressive elements that simply weren't there on the page.

The result has been the slow, but steady, turning of the tide against the author, once beloved as the creator of a literary series that has touched the lives of so many. But increasingly, Harry Potter fans have found that Rowling's comments and opinions have soured the legacy of that wonderful, magical world almost irrevocably.

Just this week, in the middle of the Black Lives Matter protest movement and a global pandemic, Rowling doubled down on her transphobic messaging. In a series of tweets kickstarted by an article that used the term "people who menstruate" to describe cis women, Rowling railed against the right of trans women to identify as women.

"If sex isn't real, there's no same-sex attraction," she tweeted. "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."

Rowling was also severely criticised when she supported the decision to cast Johnny Depp as the dark wizard Grindelwald in the Fantastic Beasts film series.

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Daniel Radcliffe spoke out against the author over her recent comments. Photo / Getty Images
Daniel Radcliffe spoke out against the author over her recent comments. Photo / Getty Images

The year was 2017, months after the exposure of the Harvey Weinstein sexual assault scandal in the New York Times, which kicked off Hollywood's #MeToo movement, and a year after Amber Heard had accused Depp of domestic abuse.

"Based on our understanding of the circumstances, the filmmakers and I are not only comfortable sticking with our original casting, but genuinely happy to have Johnny playing a major character in the movies," she wrote.

In these films, Dumbledore would not be "explicitly" gay, according to director David Yates, despite their release decades after Rowling's reveal, and Rowling's position as the screenwriter of the films.

As one fan explained to Insider: "I am both furious and heartbroken … Dumbledore's sexuality is not an Easter egg for fans of the books [ …] it is an integral part of the character. It gives the story depth and meaning. To leave it out is to cheat the fans of a well-written movie. Everyone deserves to be represented."

Rupert Grint and Emma Watson have also publicly disagreed with the author's views. Photo / Getty Images
Rupert Grint and Emma Watson have also publicly disagreed with the author's views. Photo / Getty Images

Rowling has also been accused of cultural appropriation. In 2016, the author released some writing about the world of magic in the US, incorporating some elements of Native American culture into her work.

Fans, including those with Native American ancestry, criticised the author's words. "My ancestors didn't survive colonisation so you could use our culture as a convenient prop," Brian Young, a Navajo writer, wrote on Twitter.

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Radcliffe coming out with a statement so publicly disavowing Rowling's comments this week is a sign that the tide of public opinion is turning against the author. Previously, Radcliffe hadn't explicitly spoken out about Rowling's remarks, and neither had any other major Harry Potter cast member.

Until now.