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JK Rowling brushes off concerns over legacy in wake of trans row: ‘Whatever, I’ll be dead’

Author referenced Harry Potter fans’ decisions to boycott her work

Jacob Stolworthy
Wednesday 22 February 2023 03:27 GMT
'Whatever, I'll be dead': JK Rowling brushes off concerns over legacy in light of trans views

JK Rowling has dimissed worries that her stance on trans issues and gender recognition will overshadow her legacy as creator of Harry Potter.

In a new podcast, partly created to address the backlash over remarks she has made about the transgender community, she said: “Whatever – I’ll be dead! I care about now. I care about the living.”

Follow live reactions to the podcast here

In recent years, Rowling has come under fire for various comments about gender ideology, with many, including stars of the Harry Potter adaptations, accusing her of transphobia.

Rowling has repeatedly rejected the claims, saying that she “knows and loves” trans people.

Harry Potter fans have been open about their struggles to separate Rowling’s views from the wizarding world they love so much, which led to many boycotting the recent Fantastic Beasts film franchise.

More recently, many fans refused to purchase the video game Hogwarts Legacy as the debate surrounding Rowling’s views continued.

Rowling did not appear to be concerned by this. In Megan Phelps-Roper’s podcast The Witch Trials of JK Rowling, she addressed the people who believe she has “ruined her legacy”.

Rowling said she “never set out to upset anyone”, adding: “What has interested me in the last 10 years – and certainly in the last two, three years – particularly on social media is where [people say] you've ruined your legacy. ‘Oh you could have been beloved forever but you chose to say this.’ And I thought, ‘You could not have misunderstood me more profoundly’.

She continued: “I don’t walk around my house thinking about my legacy. What a pompous way to live your life walking around thinking about what your legacy will be. Whatever – I’ll be dead! I care about now. I care about the living.”

JK Rowling (AFP via Getty Images)

In 2021, Rowling was absent from a 20th-anniversary Harry Potter special, titled Return to Hogwarts. Her appearance was taken from archival footage filmed in 1999, and accounted for less than 30 seconds of screen time.

However, in 2022, when Warner Bros blocked Draco Malfoy actor Tom Felton from being asked a question about her lack of involvement, a spokesperson for the studio’s tour said it was “wholly wrong” to do so as it’s “proud” to work with Rowling.

Phelps-Roper, Rowling’s interviewer, is the granddaughter of Fred Phelps, pastor of the notorious Westboro Baptist Church.

After leaving the church in 2012, Phelps-Roper became a prominent critic of its philosophy and practices.

Read more updates from the first two podcast episodes here.

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