Things must be pretty tough when Voldemort is the only guy who has your back. But seriously folks, Ralph Fiennes is one of the few stars of the Harry Potter series to support J.K. Rowling amidst her transphobic controversy. And as her rhetoric has become even more troubling (“[It] is dangerous to assert that any category of people deserves a blanket presumption of innocence” she wrote in a recent op-ed), Fiennes somehow remains firmly on her side.
“J.K. 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,” the actor says in a new New York Times interview. “The verbal abuse directed at her is disgusting, it’s appalling.”
This sentiment echoes his previous defense of the author, which came across more like tone policing than taking a stance on the issue. “I can’t understand the vitriol directed at her,” he lamented in 2021. “I can understand the heat of an argument, but I find this age of accusation and the need to condemn irrational. I find the level of hatred that people express about views that differ from theirs, and the violence of language towards others, disturbing.”
In the present, Fiennes tip-toes a little further into the discourse with a frankly half-assed understanding of the issue at hand. “I mean, I can understand a viewpoint that might be angry at what she says about women. But it’s not some obscene, über-right-wing fascist,” he argues, disregarding the fact that transphobia is, in fact, popular (and ongoing) policy for the right wing.
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He concluded, “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.” Well, sorry to Ralph Fiennes, Woman Understander, but what he’s describing sounds way more like a trans woman’s position than Rowling’s position, whose stated purpose (per that op-ed against Scotland’s proposed Gender Recognition Reform Bill) is to police who gets to “be able to say that I’m a woman.” Perhaps he needs to brush up on his understanding of the subject matter—or maybe he knows what he’s doing perfectly well.