Ralph Fiennes, who played the evil Lord Voldemort in the Harry Potter film series is speaking out in defense of author J.K. Rowling over her transphobic comments. In an interview with The Telegraph (via Yahoo!), Fiennes said that he "can't understand" the backlash against Rowling, specifically noting in his comments that he finds the "need to condemn" to be irrational.
"I can't understand the vitriol directed at her," Fiennes said. "I can understand the heat of an argument, but I find this age of accusation and the need to condemn irrational. I find the level of hatred that people express about views that differ from theirs, and the violence of language towards others, disturbing."
Rowling has previously come under fire from fans following a series of anti-trans tweets, most specifically tweets from June 2020 in which Rowling shared an article titled "Opinion: Creating a more equal post-COVID-19 world for people who menstruate" with Rowling adding her own commentary "'People who menstruate.' I'm sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?" She’s made additional tweets as well.
Fiennes isn't the only actor involved with Harry Potter-related films to condemn the "vitriol" Rowling has received. Fantastic Beasts star Eddie Redmayne previously said he supported Rowling even though he doesn't agree with her comments. However, numerous members of the Harry Potter cast have denounced the comments with Danielle Radcliff, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint all coming forward to show their support for the trans community. Warner Bros., the studio that currently holds the rights to the Harry Potter franchise, also released a statement last year indicating that it strongly disagrees with Rowling.
"The events in the last several weeks have firmed our resolve as a company to confront difficult societal issues," Warner Bros. said in a statement to Variety. "Warner Bros.' position on inclusiveness is well established, and fostering a diverse and inclusive culture has never been more important to our company and to our audiences around the world. We deeply value the work of our storytellers who give so much of themselves in sharing their creations with us all. We recognize our responsibility to foster empathy and advocate understanding of all communities and all people, particularly those we work with and those we reach through our content."
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