Ralph Fiennes defends JK Rowling: 'I can't understand the vitriol directed at her'

He's called the backlash "disturbing"


Words: Jamie Tabberer; picture: Ralph Fiennes in Official Secrets (Entertainment One)

Ralph Fiennes has spoken out in support of Harry Potter icon JK Rowling.

Fiennes, who played the villainous Voldemort in the Potter films, has said he "can't understand the vitriol" the author is facing for her gender views.

Rowling has been criticised for tweeting “sex is real” following a court ruling that such a view is offensive and grounds for dismissal from employment.

She has since mocked trans men who have periods, tweeting last June: "'People who menstruate.' I'm sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?"


Addressed the backlash against Rowling, Fiennes told The Telegraph in a new interview: “I can’t understand the vitriol directed at her. 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."

The star, known for films like Official Secrets and The Dig, added of artistic freedom: “I get worried if it’s decided that certain classical plays are irrelevant. I think often there’s a superficial reading – Restoration drama is ‘colonialist, hierarchical, quasi racist’. But they’re just plays. You can turn them on their head. The danger is of labelling stuff.

"These texts are there – so pull the humanity out of them, pull out the stuff that’s relevant.”

"I refuse to bow down"

Rowling stated in an infamous June 2020 essay: "I refuse to bow down to a movement that I believe is doing demonstrable harm in seeking to erode ‘woman’ as a political and biological class and offering cover to predators like few before it."

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