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HBO Hit With Backlash After Defending JK Rowling's Role In Reboot Series Of 'Harry Potter'

HBO CEO Casey Bloys defended the transphobic author's role as executive producer on the upcoming series, saying 'her insights will be helpful.'

JK Rowling
Taylor Hill/FilmMagic/Getty Images

On Wednesday, it was announced HBO Max and Discovery+ would be uniting to form a new streaming service called Max as a result of the Warner Bros. Discovery merger.

The announcement also confirmed previous whispers that Harry Potter will be adapted into a Max Original streaming series, set to span over the course of a decade.

Also confirmed was the role of the problematic HP series' author J.K. Rowling as executive producer.

Immediately after the announcement was made, fans rushed to social media to share their thoughts on the decision, especially given Rowling's well documented history of racism and more recent incessant and unapologetic display of transphobia on social media.

Seemingly anticipating further criticism and responding to the already-garnered backlash, HBO CEO Casey Bloys explained:

"J.K. is an executive producer, and her insights will be helpful. We are in the Harry Potter business."
"The TV show is new and exciting, but we've been in the Harry Potter business for 20 years; this isn't a new decision."
"We're comfortable being in the Harry Potter business."

Boys also argued that his priority is "what's on screen," separate from the "complicated... online conversation" surrounding Rowling.

"J.K. is a very online conversation."
"It's very nuanced and complicated and not something we're going to get into."
"Our priority is what's on screen."

In contrast to Rowling's online messages, however, Bloys stated, "The 'Harry Potter' story is incredibly affirmative and positive about love and acceptance..."

Those who learned of Rowling's role for the new series expressed their disappointment of HBO's decision.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Rowling released the following statement:

"Max's commitment to preserving the integrity of my books is important to me, and I'm looking forward to being part of this new adaptation which will allow for a degree of depth and detail only afforded by a long-form television series."

While Bloys refused to discuss the way Rowling's views might affect attracting talent for the new series, he did note they had some writers in mind.

"We have been trying to be very close to the vest. But we haven't gone out to agencies yet."
"We have our own internal process where we've been thinking about people, but we have not wanted to go out into the world saying, 'Who do you have?"
"But now that the news is out, we will start."