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March 25, 2023

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Why ‘Harry Potter’s’ Radcliffe condemned J.K. Rowling

Actor says author’s tweets hurtful to transgender people


Daniel Radcliffe is holding firm in his stance against transphobia, shedding light on why he felt the need to speak up in 2020 when “Harry Potter” author J.K. Rowling made polarizing remarks about transgender people.

The “Weird: The Al Yankovic Story” star, who came of age onscreen as the titular boy in Warner Bros.’ eight-film “Harry Potter” franchise, joined several Wizarding World leads in condemning the billionaire author and standing up for those who were hurt by Rowling’s tweets mocking the phrase “people who menstruate.”

“The reason I … felt very, very much as though I needed to say something when I did was because, particularly since finishing ‘Potter,’ I’ve met so many queer and trans kids and young people who had a huge amount of identification with Potter on that,” Radcliffe recently told IndieWire. “And so seeing them hurt on that day I was like, I wanted them to know that not everybody in the franchise felt that way. And that was really important.”

At the time, Radcliffe had for years been working with the Trevor Project — the crisis intervention and suicide prevention hotline for LGBTQ youth — and wrote an open letter for the nonprofit that asserted, “Transgender women are women.

“Any statement to the contrary erases the identity and dignity of transgender people and goes against all advice given by professional health care associations who have far more expertise on this subject matter than either Jo or I,” he wrote, also acknowledging that Rowling was “unquestionably responsible for the course my life has taken.”

The 33-year-old actor, who has since starred in films including “Escape From Pretoria” and “Guns Akimbo,” also reiterated that position in an interview with the Hollywood Reporter published Monday.

Radcliffe said that since playing Harry, he’d come to appreciate how many of his fans were “trans or nonbinary or gender non-conforming in some way, and Potter was a huge part of that identity.”

That and a “growing awareness of the money I had and wanting to do something useful with that” led him to start working with the Trevor Project while performing “Equus” in New York, he told THR.

“There was a moment where I was like, I can’t look myself in the eye if I’ve been working with this organization for 10 years and I don’t say anything,” Radcliffe said.

Since completing work on the final “Potter” film, 2011’s “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 2,” the actor has made several unique creative choices. He worked in theater and shied away from franchise fare. He also played a series of eccentric characters in films and TV projects such as “Swiss Army Man,” “Horns,” “Miracle Workers” and “The Lost City.”

The roles he chose turned out to be by design and helped him land his most recent gig in “Weird” as parody musician Yankovic. (He’s also starring in an upcoming off-Broadway revival of Stephen Sondheim’s “Merrily We Roll Along.”)

“When I finished ‘Potter’ and was trying to figure out what my career was after that, I always said that I wanted to be the kind of actor that keeps his roles interesting enough that when you’ve got something coming out, people go, ‘Oh, he’s in that, he always makes interesting choices,’” he said.