Robbie Coltrane, the veteran actor who played Hagrid in the Harry Potter films, has defended author J.K. Rowling from accusations of transphobia, saying he does not find her views offensive.
It comes as Rowling has attracted strong and widespread criticism for numerous public comments on gender identity – including from the Harry Potter cast – but maintains she is not transphobic.
Fierce backlash against the author was reignited this week following a Sunday Telegraph review of her latest book, Troubled Blood, about a male serial killer who dresses as a woman while on violent killing sprees.
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Furious fans lambasted Rowling this week, declaring her “dead”, with the hashtag #RIPJKRowling sent to the top of the Twitter trending charts.
In response to the uproar, Coltrane, who played gamekeeper Hagrid in the Harry Potter franchise, suggested people are too easily offended.
Speaking to UK magazine Radio Times, he said: “I don’t think what she said was offensive really. I don’t know why but there’s a whole Twitter generation of people who hang around waiting to be offended.
“They wouldn’t have won the war, would they? That’s me talking like a grumpy old man, but you just think, ‘Oh, get over yourself. Wise up, stand up straight and carry on.’”
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Coltrane, 70, refused to comment further for fear of his own avalanche of criticism.
“I don’t want to get involved in all of that because of all the hate mail and all that sh*t, which I don’t need at my time of life,” he said.
Rowling has made headlines several times this year for controversial transphobic comments.
In June, the best-selling author defended past statements in a lengthy essay, which also revealed that she was sexually assaulted as a young woman.
“I’m concerned about the huge explosion in young women wishing to transition and also about the increasing numbers who seem to be detransitioning (returning to their original sex), because they regret taking steps that have, in some cases, altered their bodies irrevocably, and taken away their fertility,” she wrote.
Responding to the scandal, Harry Potter actors Emma Watson (Hermione Granger), Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter) and Bonnie Wright (Ginny Weasley) promptly distanced themselves from Rowling’s views.
In a post published on the website of LGBTQ youth charity The Trevor Project, Radcliffe wrote: “To all the people who now feel that their experience of the books has been tarnished or diminished, I am deeply sorry for the pain these comments have caused you. I really hope that you don’t entirely lose what was valuable in these stories to you.”
Weeks after wading into her biggest controversy yet, Rowling and 100 other writers and scholars penned an essay calling for the end of cancel culture, citing an “intolerance of opposing views”.
Her latest controversy, the novel Troubled Blood, follows a private detective, Cormoran Strike, as he investigates a cisgender male serial killer who dons women’s clothing to kill female victims. Using the pseudonym Robert Galbraith, it’s the fifth book in Rowling’s Cormoran Strike series using the pen name.
In The Silkworm, the second novel in the series, Rowling portrays a trans character as being “unstable and aggressive”.
“The meat of the book is the investigation into a cold case: The disappearance of GP Margot Bamborough in 1974, thought to have been a victim of Dennis Creed, a transvestite serial killer,” wrote the Telegraph in a review of the novel.
“One wonders what critics of Rowling’s stance on trans issues will make of a book whose moral seems to be: Never trust a man in a dress.”
Its release comes just a few months after she earned the ire of fans for calling out an article which used the wording: “People who menstruate.”
“I’m sure there used to be a word for those people,” Rowling tweeted.
“Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?”
Rowling responded to the initial backlash, telling her 14.5 million followers: “If sex isn’t real, the lived reality of women globally is erased.”
She added: “I know and love trans people, but erasing the concept of sex removes the ability of many to meaningfully discuss their lives. It isn’t hate to speak the truth.”