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Daniel Radcliffe Says JK Rowling's Anti-Trans Stance 'Makes Me Really Sad' In New Interview

The 'Harry Potter' star opened up to 'The Atlantic' about Rowling's transphobic views, as well as her recent remark that she wouldn't forgive him and costar Emma Watson over their support of trans rights.

Daniel Radcliffe; J.K. Rowling
Karwai Tang/WireImage/Getty Images; Tolga Akmen/AFP via Getty Images

Harry Potter star opened up in an interview with The Atlantic about author J.K. Rowling's transphobic views, as well as her recent remark that she wouldn't forgive him and co-star Emma Watson over their support of transgender rights.

Rowling has repeatedly come under fire for her anti-transgender views and their inclusion in her writing. Her responses to proposed changes to gender recognition laws in the United Kingdom have also drawn public backlash.

Rowling's statements have divided feminists and Harry Potter fans, fueled debates on freedom of speech, academic freedom and cancel culture, and prompted support for transgender people from the literary, arts, and culture sectors including the stars of the films based on her books.

Over the last few years, Rowling has argued against the inclusion of transgender women in women's restrooms and promoted stereotypes about transgender people, as when she included a cross-dressing killer inTroubled Blood, written under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith, a tribute to a man long considered the father of conversion therapy.

Radcliffe—who was previously honored by The Trevor Project for his advocacy work on behalf of LGBTQ+ youth, revealed that he hasn't personally spoken to Rowling in years, signaling that he doesn't necessarily feel completely indebted to her after playing the title character in the film adaptations of her best-selling novels.

Addressing Rowling's remarks, he said:

"It makes me really sad, ultimately, because 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."
"Jo, 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."
"But that doesn’t mean that you owe the things you truly believe to someone else for your entire life."

When asked for his response to Rowling saying that he and Watson can "save their apologies" for supporting transgender rights, he answered very succinctly:

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

Radcliffe most notably spoke out against Rowling's anti-trans stance after releasing a statement through The Trevor Project in 2020.

At the time, he reiterated that "Transgender women are women" and that her criticism "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."

Explaining to The Atlantic why he felt he should speak out then, he said:

"I’d worked with the Trevor Project for 12 years and it would have seemed like, I don’t know, immense cowardice to me to not say something. 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."

Many appreciated the actor's remarks.



Radcliffe has indeed distinguished himself as an actor since the Harry Potter film series ended in 2011.

He has continued to perform to great acclaim in often offbeat films and indie productions including Horns, Victor Frankenstein, Swiss Army Man, Guns Akimbo, and The Lost City. He received his first Emmy Award nomination for playing "Weird Al" Yankovic in Weird: The Al Yankovic Story.

However, he has really made strides in the theatre, appearing in productions as varied as Equus, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, and The Lifespan of a Fact.

His interview with The Atlantic was published on the same day he received his first nomination for a Tony Award for his critically acclaimed performance in the Broadway revival of Merrily We Roll Along. Radcliffe is the favorite to win the Tony for Best Featured Actor in a Musical.