His countless friends within the industry praised his humour, wit, and presence on stage, screen and as a director following his death from cancer aged 69. In her own tributes, Watson celebrated Rickman’s life by highlighting his singular talent and the friendship they shared after acting in eight films together.
The Harry Potter actress grew up on the set of the film series alongside Rickman, whose most recognisable role came in the form of the formidable potions master Severus Snape. She remembered “the special man and actor” affectionately, writing: “I’ll really miss our conversations. RIP Alan. We love you.”
In a Twitter tribute, Watson highlighted Rickman's pride in identifying as a feminist by sharing a snippet from an interview he once gave: “There is nothing wrong with a man being a feminist, I think it is to our mutual advantage.” Her tweet was an exact quote but Watson, a Goodwill ambassador for the UN and advocate of gender equality with her He for She campaign, still found herself accused of exploiting his death to promote her own “feminist agenda”.
Using someone's death to advance your own agenda... why? https://t.co/7Dpvk76s1j— Iñaqui (@inaquii) January 14, 2016
So the feminist Emma Watson used the death of Alan Rickman's to push her agenda. Pathetic. Disgusting. Another reason why I'm a meninist...— XIX (@TheWiseLad) January 15, 2016
I've never liked Emma Watson. She was good as Hermoine but hell I can't stand her and her Neo-Feminist agenda.— #ClaraAnne (@_SeaofCowards) January 15, 2016
.@EmWatson oh wow, you're using someone's death to push a completely unrelated agenda. this is so, so gross.— Chloë Price (@Dekashoko) January 14, 2016
The backlash comes despite Rickman often speaking about women in film and gender equality in a number of interviews.
“I always think feminist just means common sense,” he told Entertainment Weekly last year. "Do I live in a world and certainly in a business that is incredibly unfair to women? Yes, I do.”
Fortunately, the negative voices were deafened by the thousands retweeting her quote and celebrating Rickman's progressiveness.