Ralph Fiennes Calls “Verbal Abuse” Of ‘Harry Potter’ Author JK Rowling Over Trans Issues “Disgusting”

Ralph Fiennes, who played Lord Voldemort in the Harry Potter film franchise, says the “verbal abuse” directed at Potter author JK Rowling over her statements on trans women is “disgusting” and “appalling.”

“JK Rowling has written these great books about empowerment,” Fiennes says in an interview with The New York Times‘ Maureen Dowd, “about young children finding themselves as human beings. It’s about how you become a better, stronger, more morally centred human being. The verbal abuse directed at her is disgusting, it’s appalling.”

Rowling has come under considerable backlash in recent years for her comments on gender identity and trans rights that have been interpreted as transphobic.

Potter actors Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint have publicly disavowed Rowling’s comments, with Grint, who played Ron Weasley in Warner Bros’ Harry Potter films, saying “Trans women are women. Trans men are men. We should all be entitled to live with love and without judgment.”

Most recently, Rowling said she received a death threat in August after she expressed concern when Salman Rushdie was attacked on stage.

In the Times interview, Fiennes says, “I can understand a viewpoint that might be angry at what she says about women. But it’s not some obscene, uber-right-wing fascist. It’s just a woman saying, ‘I’m a woman and I feel I’m a woman and I want to be able to say that I’m a woman.’ And I understand where she’s coming from. Even though I’m not a woman.”

Fiennes, who is currently appearing as Robert Moses in the Off Broadway David Hare play Straight Line Crazy, added, “Righteous anger is righteous, but often it becomes kind of dumb because it can’t work its way through the grey areas. It has no nuance.”

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