Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe makes rare comment on fallout with JK Rowling over her transgender views

Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe makes rare comment on fallout with JK Rowling over her transgender views

Daniel Radcliffe has responded to the fallout with Harry Potter author JK Rowling over her views on the transgender community for the first time since 2020, saying: “It makes me really sad”.

Rowling, who has always denied being transphobic, has been widely condemned in recent years for her views on transgender rights, having claimed that she would rather go to jail than refer to a trans person by their preferred pronouns.

Radcliffe, who became a worldwide star after playing schoolboy wizard Harry in the blockbuster adaptations of the novels, said in an interview with US magazine The Atlantic he has had no direct contact with the writer throughout the controversy.

“It makes me really sad, ultimately,” he said, “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.”

The 34-year-old actor first expressed his support for the trans community in response to Rowling’s stance back in June 2020 when she took issue with the phrasing of a headline for an opinion article about healthcare equality, titled Opinion: Creating a more equal post-COVID-19 world for people who menstruate.

Her response to it on social media – “‘People who menstruate’. I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?” – sparked a debate and ongoing criticism of her views.

(L-R) Radcliffe, Rowling, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint at the world premiere of Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part 2 in 2011. Pic: PA

Radcliffe waded into the controversy at the time in a blog post for the LGBT suicide prevention charity The Trevor Project, writing that while Rowling “is unquestionably responsible for the course my life has taken… as a human being, I feel compelled to say something at this moment”.

He added: “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.”

Radcliffe told The Atlantic: “Obviously Harry Potter would not have happened without her, 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.”

Last month, Rowling reignited the row with the Harry Potter stars, hitting out at “celebs” who she said have “used their platforms to cheer on the transitioning of minors” – after the Cass Review found there is “remarkably weak evidence” to support gender treatments for children.

One person replied to her post on X, writing: “Just waiting for Dan and Emma to give you a very public apology… safe in the knowledge that you will forgive them…”

Rowling responded: “Not safe, I’m afraid. Celebs who cosied up to a movement intent on eroding women’s hard-won rights and who used their platforms to cheer on the transitioning of minors can save their apologies for traumatised detransitioners and vulnerable women reliant on single sex spaces.”

In response, Radcliffe told The Atlantic: “I will continue to support the rights of all LGBTQ people, and have no further comment than that.”

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Emma Watson, who played Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter films, and Rupert Grint, known for his portrayal of Ron Weasley in the series, have also been outspoken in support of transgender people.