Warner Bros. issued a statement on Wednesday in response to the recent controversy about “Harry Potter” author J.K. Rowling’s anti-trans tweets.
“The events in the last several weeks have firmed our resolve as a company to confront difficult societal issues. Warner Bros.’ position on inclusiveness is well established, and fostering a diverse and inclusive culture has never been more important to our company and to our audiences around the world,” the company said in a statement. “We deeply value the work of our storytellers who give so much of themselves in sharing their creations with us all. We recognize our responsibility to foster empathy and advocate understanding of all communities and all people, particularly those we work with and those we reach through our content.”
Warner Bros.’ most recent Rowling-related news came late last month when the company’s new HBO Max streaming service surprised subscribers by offering all eight “Harry Potter” films on the platform at launch. Warner Bros. Pictures is expected to distribute an upcoming film in the Rowling-written and produced “Fantastic Beasts” franchise.
A Warner Bros. spokesperson declined to discuss the company’s working relationship with Rowling.
Rowling drew widespread condemnation on Saturday when she said that trans individuals should be defined by their biological sex by arguing that “if sex isn’t real, there’s no same-sex attraction.” Rowling quit tweeting for several days before returning early Wednesday with an essay elaborating on her views. Rowling dismissed her critics in the essay, arguing that detractors were harassing her for “wrongthink” and lamented that she should “never, ever expect a nuanced conversation” on Twitter.
Rowling linked to her essay on Twitter with two words: “TERF wars.” TERF, which stands for trans-exclusionary radical feminist, is a term used to describe feminists who are transphobic.
Rowling’s anti-trans tweets were widely criticized on social media and provoked responses from several of Hollywood’s high-profile individuals, including “Harry Potter” actor Daniel Radcliffe. Radcliffe, who portrayed the titular protagonist in the popular film franchise, rejected Rowling’s comments in an open letter on The Trevor Project’s website and expressed his support for the transgender community.
“Transgender women are women,” Radcliffe said in the letter. “Any statement to the contrary 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.”
Emma Watson, who portrayed Hermione Granger in the “Harry Potter” films, echoed Radcliffe’s support of the trans community in a tweet on Wednesday.
Trans people are who they say they are and deserve to live their lives without being constantly questioned or told they aren’t who they say they are.
— Emma Watson (@EmmaWatson) June 10, 2020