J.K. Rowling Just Destroyed Her ‘Harry Potter’ Legacy in One Move
J.K. Rowling has an amazing life story that has served as inspiration all around the world. The Harry Potter series she created despite great adversity and rejection stands as one of the most influential and powerful literary franchises in the world.
Rowling set herself up to have a tremendous legacy based on that work and her philanthropic endeavors. Now, however, Rowling has made a move that many fans are seeing as unforgivable.
In a single tweet, she has been labeled a TERF and potentially destroyed her legacy for good. Let’s take a closer look at what’s happened.
J.K. Rowling serves as an inspirational story for many
Rowling was a struggling single mother when she penned the first Harry Potter book. Publisher after publisher rejected the book before it finally found a home, and Rowling—writing under a gender-neutral pseudonym in the hopes of enticing boys to read her work—became one of the most famous and successful authors of all time.
In addition, Rowling has been very open about her personal struggles including the grief she felt over losing her mother when she was only 25 and her mental health battles with depression. These dark times served as an inspiration for some of her most terrifying characters: the dementors.
This tale of overcoming challenges made Rowling’s rise to success all the more endearing and seemingly solidified her place as a fan favorite.
The content of Harry Potter won over progressive fans
In addition to Rowling’s own life story, the content of the Harry Potter series made it a favorite for politically progressive fans. The entire series has been read as an anti-fascist saga.
Many have held up Harry and his friends’ bravery in the face of tyranny as a blueprint for political activism. This stance was made even stronger by Rowling’s own political raging against Donald Trump and conservative political ideals.
In conjunction with this political subtext, the books have been a favorite for many LGBTQ readers who read the characters standing up for what is right in the face of persecution as hopeful and inspiring. At the same time, they’ve been frustrated that there are no overtly LGBTQ characters in the series.
When Rowling herself revealed that a primary character—Albus Dumbledore—was gay, fans rejoiced, but they were then frustrated when further works did not directly tackle this aspect of his character.
J.K. Rowling has come under fire for anti-transgender comments before
Recently, Rowling has placed herself at the center of deep controversy. On December 19, she tweeted out her support for Maya Forstater, a researcher who lost her job with a London think tank after promoting anti-transgender views.
Forstater has vocally stated that “it is impossible to change sex,” and she filed a wrongful termination lawsuit claiming that she was facing gender discrimination. When an employment tribunal ruled against Forstater, Rowling added her voice to those who were tweeting #IStandWithMaya in support of the researcher.
The tribunal called Forstater’s beliefs “incompatible with human dignity and fundamental rights of others.”
This is not the first time that Rowling has come under fire for being transphobic. She has followed and liked blatantly anti-transgender accounts on Twitter for years, and she voiced support for a campaign that would block transgender women from participation in women’s-only shortlists for the Labour Party’s Parliament seats.
She also liked a tweet referring to transgender women as “men in dresses.” At the time, Rowling’s publicist dismissed the act as a literal slip of the finger, claiming that Rowling had a “middle-aged moment” where she clicked a post she didn’t mean to click.
The recent controversy appears to leave no doubt about her stance
While Rowling may have tried to cover up her “liking” of anti-transgender sentiments in the past, this time the comments are in her own words and are blatantly clear. It seems unlikely she will be able to backtrack from them without a serious reconsideration of her views and retribution that demonstrates a commitment to changing them.
Many fans expressed heartbreak about the most recent tweet.
Only time will tell if Rowling will take this pushback to heart and truly consider the views of her fans who feel marginalized and hurt by her comments. In the meantime, she has definitely tainted a long-standing legacy and fanbase that saw her work as kind, uplifting, and inclusive.