Ralph Fiennes is sticking up for J.K. Rowling.
In a new interview with the New York Times, the actor, who played the villain Voldemort in the “Harry Potter” films, shared his thoughts on the controversy surrounding the author.
Rowling has been vocally critical of transgender care and accommodations, and her views have sparked major backlash from trans rights advocates and supporters.
“J.K. Rowling has written these great books about empowerment, about young children finding themselves as human beings,” Fiennes said of the writer. “It’s about how you become a better, stronger, more morally centred human being. The verbal abuse directed at her is disgusting, it’s appalling.”
Over the last few years, Rowling has shared that she has been the subject of numerous death threats over her anti-trans statements and political advocacy.
“I’ve now received so many death threats I could paper the house with them, and I haven’t stopped speaking out,” she said in a tweet last November.
For his part, Fiennes said, “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. 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.”
Speaking more generally to the idea of cancel culture, the actor added, “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.”
Rowling has been rebuked for her views by several stars of the “Harry Potter” series, including Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint.
In an interview last year with Esquire, Grint explained why he spoke out in support of the trans community, in opposition to Rowling.
“I am hugely grateful (for) everything that she’s done. I think that she’s extremely talented, and I mean, clearly, her works are genius,” he said at the time. “But yeah, I think also you can have huge respect for someone and still disagree with things like that.”
He added that the trans community is “valuable group that I think need standing up for,” and said, “I think to stay silent would have spoke. Sometimes, silence is even louder. I felt like I had to because I think it was important to.”