Back to IndieWire

Warner Bros. Defends JK Rowling at ‘Harry Potter’ Press Event Amid Transphobic Statements, ‘Proud’ to Work with Author

A Sky News reporter was barred from asking "Harry Potter" alum Tom Felton a question about Rowling's involvement in the franchise, leading Warner Bros. to boast Rowling is "one of the world's most accomplished storytellers."

JK Rowling, Fantastic Beasts 2 red carpet

JK Rowling


Warner Bros. is continuing to stand by controversial “Harry Potter” author JK Rowling after her series of transphobic comments.

During an anniversary of “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” press conference with actor Tom Felton, a Sky News reporter was prohibited from asking about Rowling’s involvement. Felton was interviewed as part of the Mandrakes and Magical Creatures feature at Warner Brothers Studios.

Sky News reporter Claire Gregory asked, “And you’re sort of, you’re still, you and the other stars of the film, still very much the face of the franchise, if you like. We speak and hear from you guys. JK obviously has sort of more of a back seat now. Is it strange for her being around at things like this?”

A third party public relations representative interjected before Felton could answer, saying, “Next question, please.”

The representative later added, “JK Rowling is not connected to Warner or Tom Felton, the team felt it was not relevant to the piece.”

A Warner Bros. Studio Tour London spokesperson addressed the viral moment, telling Daily Mail UK that “Warner Bros. has enjoyed a creative, productive, and fulfilling partnership with J.K. Rowling for the past 20 years. She is one of the world’s most accomplished storytellers, and we are proud to be the studio to bring her vision, characters, and stories to life now – and for decades to come.”

The official press statement continued: “On Monday, a statement was issued by a third-party media agency that appeared contrary to this view. The statement was wholly wrong, and Warner Bros. Studio Tour London regrets it happened as part of a media event that day.” 

Rowling penned the seven bestselling “Harry Potter” books before introducing the “Fantastic Beasts” prequel series. The author has come under fire for a slew of transphobic comments over the years, most recently in March 2022 regarding proposed amendments to the Gender Recognition Reform Bill in Scotland.

Rowling made headlines earlier this week for being pranked by Russian comedy duo Vovan and Lexus into thinking she was speaking with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky in a Zoom interview.

In a dig at Rowling’s outspoken anti-trans sentiments, the comedy duo asked the author whether Professor Dumbledore was actually gay and who he slept with. “Hopefully not with a transgender,” they said.

Rowling co-wrote “Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore” and has final approval over scripts, according to Variety. Despite not attending HBO’s 20th anniversary special for “Harry Potter,” Rowling walked the red carpet for the “Fantastic Beasts” latest premiere.

Warner Bros. has also doubled down (thus far) on controversial star Ezra Miller ahead of DC installment “The Flash” and after downplaying Miller’s involvement in “Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore.” Conflicting reports that an internal meeting took place to “hit pause” on the film’s release amid Miller’s multiple arrests and allegations seemed to be dispelled after a Variety report claimed the studio was still moving fully ahead with “The Flash” press campaign.

Sign Up: Stay on top of the latest breaking film and TV news! Sign up for our Email Newsletters here.

This Article is related to: Film and tagged , ,

Get The Latest IndieWire Alerts And Newsletters Delivered Directly To Your Inbox