Daniel Radcliffe speaks during the 73rd Annual Outer Critics Circle Awards Nominations at Museum of Broadway on April 23, 2024 in New York City Source: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

Tony Award Nominee Daniel Radcliffe 'Really Sad' over J.K. Rowling's Transphobic Stance

Kilian Melloy READ TIME: 3 MIN.

"Harry Potter" star and Tony Award nominee Daniel Radclilffe addressed recent comments from author J.K. Rowling, saying her continued anti-trans rhetoric makes him "really sad."

Radcliffe addressed the ongoing controversy in an interview with The Atlantic, saying, "It makes me really sad, ultimately."

The actor, who was just named a Tony Award nominee for his work in "Merrily We Roll Along," went on to add: "I do look at the person that I met, the times that we met, and the books that she wrote, and the world that she created, and all of that is to me so deeply empathic."

Rowling's row of words started in June of 2020, when she posted remarks on X (known then as Twitter) that were widely seen as being transphobic. Rowling has gone on to label herself a TERF – "trans-exclusionary radical feminist."

More recently, Rowling posted a string of tweets in which she aimed critiques at cherry-picked individuals she said claimed to be transgender but were sexual predators, and declared that transwomen are "men performing their idea of femaleness, however misogynistically or opportunistically..."

In the same series of tweets, Rowling also targeted leading transwomen of note, including UK delegate to the UN Katie Neeves, rape crisis center leader Mridul Wadhwa, and model Munrow Bergdorf, as well as TV personality India Willoughby. In another post, Rowling misgendered Willoughby and called her a "male narcissist."

Also in the same string of posts, the writer seemed to go out of her way to generate controversy, referencing a new Scottish law penalizing hate speech and all but daring authorities to place her under arrest for her views, although Willoughby did reportedly complain to the police about Rowling's tweets.

"I'm currently out of the country," Rowling posted, "but if what I've written here qualifies as an offence under the terms of the new act, I look forward to being arrested when I return to the birthplace of the Scottish Enlightenment."

Scottish authorities noted that Rowling's posts did not meet the criteria for criminal hate speech.

Radcliffe, by contrast, was quick to declare that "trans women are women" in an open letter he penned for LGBTQ+ youth suicide prevention organization The Trevor Project.

"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," Radcliffe wrote in the essay.

Referencing that article, the stage and screen actor recalled that, at the time, he had "worked with the Trevor Project for 12 years," and added that "it would have seemed like, I don't know, immense cowardice to me to not say something."

Radclliffe went on to add: "I wanted to try and help people that had been negatively affected by the comments. And to say that if those are Jo's views, then they are not the views of everybody associated with the Potter franchise."

Rowling indicated recently that she holds a grudge against Radcliffe and other "Harry Potter" cast members, including Emma Watson, for their expressions of support for transgender people.

Entertainment Weekly reported last month that Rowling "responded to a social media user Wednesday [April 10] who wrote, 'Just waiting for Dan and Emma to give you a very public apology ... safe in the knowledge that you will forgive them' for their previous support of trans rights."

But Rowling's retort was not what that fan seemingly expected. The author threw down the gauntlet with the words, "Not safe, I'm afraid."

Sad it may be, but Radcliffe didn't appear to waver. "Obviously 'Harry Potter' would not have happened without her, so nothing in my life would have probably happened the way it is without that person," the actor told The Atlantic. "But that doesn't mean that you owe the things you truly believe to someone else for your entire life."

Summarized Radcliffe: "I will continue to support the rights of all LGBTQ people, and have no further comment than that."

by Kilian Melloy , EDGE Staff Reporter

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.

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