‘Harry Potter’ Star Ralph Fiennes Defends J.K. Rowling: ‘The Verbal Abuse Directed at Her Is Disgusting’

Ralph Fiennes, who played Lord Voldemort in the ‘Harry Potter’ series, has defended the books’ author, calling the relentless abuse and death threats aimed at J.K. Rowling “disgusting” and “appalling.”

“J.K. Rowling has written these great books about empowerment, about young children finding themselves as human beings,” Fiennes told the New York Times during a long-ranging interview to promote his latest film, “The Menu.” “It’s about how you become a better, stronger, more morally centered human being. The verbal abuse directed at her is disgusting, it’s appalling.”

“I mean, I can understand a viewpoint that might be angry at what she says about women,” he continued. “But it’s not some obscene, über-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.”

Rowling, who has become a polarizing figure in media in recent years, has received numerous death threats as well as abuse after speaking out on political topics. Following a string of tweets in June 2020, critics accused her of being “anti-trans” and of voicing sentiments seen as harmful to the trans community.

Last November she tweeted: “I’ve now received so many death threats I could paper the house with them, and I haven’t stopped speaking out.” Last year, police in Scotland made enquiries after activists published a photograph of themselves holding placards outside Rowling’s family home on Twitter in which her address was clearly visible. No charges were made.

Police were again involved earlier this year after Rowling tweeted in support of “The Satanic Verses” author Salman Rushdie following his attempted murder, to which an anonymous Twitter user replied: “Don’t worry you are next.”

Earlier in Fiennes’ interview with New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd he also commented on cancel culture, saying: “Righteous anger is righteous, but often it becomes kind of dumb because it can’t work its way through the gray areas. It has no nuance.”

The actor also revealed he wasn’t particularly thrilled when first offered the part as the Dark Wizard in the “Harry Potter” series. “I was a bit sniffy, I think, initially,” he said. “I thought, ‘Oh, this is a children’s fantasy thing. I’m not sure.’”

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