The Harry Potter TV series boss Casey Bloys has dodged a question about JK Rowling’s views on the trans community.
A show about the boy wizard and studying at Hogwarts has been officially ordered by HBO after it was rumoured the streamer had been ‘in talks’ to produce the programme.
But prior to the announcement of the latest project in the Harry Potter universe, which has included eight films, a theatre production and a popular studio tour, fans had been planning to boycott the series.
They have expressed their desire to distance themselves from the TV adaptation due to Rowling’s views on gender and women’s rights.
Rowling, 57, has publicly expressed views that we should not dismiss biological sex and focus on gender identity as it will harm women’s rights.
At a Q&A and presentation announcing the series on Wednesday in the US, Casey Bloys, chairman and CEO of HBO and Max content, was asked whether Rowling’s stance could affect the ability to cast actors.
Declining to comment, Casey said according to Variety: ‘No, I don’t think this is the forum. That’s a very online conversation, very nuanced and complicated and not something we’re going to get into.
‘Our priority is what’s on the screen, Obviously, the Harry Potter story is incredibly affirmative and positive and about love and self-acceptance. That’s our priority — what’s on screen.
Elaborating on JK’s role as an executive producer on the series, Bloys explained ‘her insights are going to be helpful on that’.
Rowling originally came forward with her opinion in 2019 when she showed support for tax expert Maya Forstater, who was fired for tweeting that ‘men cannot become women’.
She has since appeared on podcasts, written open letters and tweeted to reinforce her views. She has also defended herself from backlash.
In 2020 she wrote on Twitter: ‘The idea that women like me, who’ve been empathetic to trans people for decades, feeling kinship because they’re vulnerable in the same way as women—i.e., to male violence—‘hate’ trans people because they think sex is real and has lived consequences—is nonsense.’
Some of the original Harry Potter cast have previously spoken out against Rowling.
Daniel Radcliffe, who played the titular character, said: ‘Transgender women are women’ in a statement.
While Emma Watson, who starred as Hermione Granger, said: ‘Trans people are who they say they are and deserve to live their lives without being constantly questioned.’
In a tweet shared by HBO Max confirming the TV series, the streaming platform said: ‘Your Hogwarts letter is here.
‘Max has ordered the first ever #HarryPotter scripted television series, a faithful adaptation of the iconic books. #StreamOnMax.’
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