What to do about the Wizarding World when Rowling is praised by Putin after latest shameful tweet?
Every time JK Rowling takes to twitter, PR companies must brace themselves for the fallout of which they can do or say nothing about but NO-ONE could have predicted that war criminal and public enemy #1 Vladimir Putin would come out on her side.
With a brand new movie Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore set to be released on April 8 and a huge multi-platform game Hogwarts Legacy coming out later in the year, the Wizarding World is an entertainment behemoth but each time she spouts some new hateful view, it chips away at the loyal fandom and hence the profits for Warner Bros.
This week started off no differently and she didn’t even TRY and justify her rancour or even apologise for the connotations of Monday’s tweet. We’re not going to repeat it here and we can’t even put it down to a blunder but she mocked a policeman for defending an LGBTQ+ outreach program metres away from where a bisexual man was robbed and beaten to death last year. Yep that’s right – god forbid the police try to make some headway into safeguarding LGBTQ+ people in an area where MURDER is on the menu.
Even so, fewer of us could have predicted that Putin would cite the ‘cancellation’ of JK Rowling as an example of how ‘the west’ were trying to ‘cancel’ Russia as well. Make no mistake, Putin and Rowling have almost nothing in common – he is a war criminal murdering women and children and she is a children’s author. She quite rightly took to twitter (shock) to defend herself but the damage had been done. Due to them sharing similar views on trans folk, Putin has uttered her name in some sort of kinship and it’s damning.
Twitter was quick to respond – “Why aren’t you addressing how you have the same views on the trans community as him?” said one while another “Why are the fascists and alt right constantly agreeing with me and even citing me as an influence? Better not dwell on that one for too long.”
It’s shocking that Rowling would even be on his radar at a time when his invasion of Ukraine is going so badly and she had donated so much to the war effort and while she is gravely misguided, she has never outrightly been transphobic and it’s quite possible she thinks that she isn’t. The two are incomparable for the most part but any kind of association with Putin right now is toxic beyond belief.
So where do we stand on the forthcoming projects from Rowling’s Wizarding World? Namely the third instalment of the Rowling penned Fantastic Beasts series and the Hogwarts Legacy video game that countless creators have worked so hard on. Do we boycott them due to their OG creator’s irreparably bad choices or do we mentally separate her from the Harry Potter universe and glean whatever enjoyment we used to have for them anew?
It’s a tough one. For advocates of women’s rights, feminism as well as trans rights, JK Rowling has endeavoured to drive a wedge between the two making you feel like you can’t support one without disregarding the other. This will not stand and it’s simply not true. Trans rights are NOT in conflict with women’s rights and to say they are is simply misguided at best, dangerous at worst. Trans people are some of the most vulnerable in the world so what is the need to KEEP banging on about them, every time making things just that little bit harder?
It’s hard to separate the two and my love for the Wizarding World has waned slightly. I won’t go and see the movie at the cinema but I will see it on the small screen when it hits the streaming services. As for the game, Warner Bros already made a small inroad by saying that she had no involvement with its development and your character can be trans and stay in whatever dormitory the so choose. It looks lavish and well worth playing for fans of open world fantasy gaming.
Her mean spirited tweet this week was just another rung on the ladder of fan alienation she insists on descending. Young fans and LGBTQ+ fans have long since come to terms with being let down by their once-upon-a-wizard heroine. A show of camaraderie from Putin is frankly shocking but maybe it might make her think that if her fans, the actors in her movies and so many other people disagree with her and yet the possible catalyst of World War 3 does, perhaps it’s time to change tack.
It’s impossible to know what she’s thinking and if she suddenly came around and did something positive in the deeply toxic trans debate, there may be hope for her yet. In the mean time, come April 8 the movie she penned is released after a rocky and lengthy journey to the big screen. It will be interesting to see what sort of box office numbers it generates as to how much damage she has done to her own legacy, and Warner Bros coffers.