Ralph Fiennes, the star of Harry Potter, has called the “verbal abuse” directed at JK Rowling “disgusting.”
The actor, who played Lord Voldemort in Rowling’s wizarding franchise, was responding to the author’s backlash over her views on trans people. Rowling has long been a critic of gender ideology and, in her own words, “women’s sex-based rights,” as per Independent News reports.
The author appeared to face backlash in June 2020 after criticizing an article’s use of the phrase “people who menstruate.” She wrote; “I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?”
Many Twitter users supported Rowling’s tweet, and many others, including several celebrities, criticized it as “anti-trans” and “transphobic,” arguing that trans men, non-binary, and non-gender conforming people can also menstruate.
Rowling also received death threats on social media, which Fiennes discussed in a new interview.
“The verbal abuse directed at her is disgusting, it’s appalling,” he told The New York Times. “I mean, 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.”
He continued: “JK Rowling has written these great books about empowerment, about young children finding themselves as human beings. It’s about how you become a better, stronger, more morally-centered human being.”
Rowling claimed to be a supporter of transgender rights in the aftermath of her comments, and she opposed being called a “terf,” a trans-exclusionary radical feminist.
The author addressed the backlash in an essay and revealed her experiences surviving alleged domestic abuse and sexual assault.
Fiennes appeared on Harry Potter’s 20th-anniversary reunion, Return to Hogwarts, in January 2022, and explained why he accepted the role of Lord Voldemort.