A step too far? Eddie Redmayne thinks some fans have been too harsh toward J.K. Rowling after she made headlines for anti-transgender comments in June.
In a recent interview with the Daily Mail, the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them star, 38, spoke out against the “vitriol” he’s seen directed at the Harry Potter author, 55, since she made her feelings clear about the trans community. Though he doesn’t support Rowling’s point of view, he was surprised by the “absolutely disgusting” criticism thrown her way in the wake of the scandal. Redmayne told the publication that he penned a private letter to Rowling but declared that he was still an ally for his “trans friends and colleagues.”
“There continues to be a hideous torrent of abuse towards trans people online and out in the world that is devastating,” he said.
During Pride Month, Rowling drew backlash after sharing an article that used the phrase “people who menstruate” as a way to be more inclusive. “‘People who menstruate.’ I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?” she tweeted.
Days later, she defended herself in a lengthy essay, opening up about her own experiences with abuse as a woman and firing back at claims that she’s transphobic.
“I haven’t written this essay in the hope that anybody will get out a violin for me, not even a teeny-weeny one. I’m extraordinarily fortunate; I’m a survivor, certainly not a victim,” she explained at the time. “I never forget that inner complexity when I’m creating a fictional character and I certainly never forget it when it comes to trans people. All I’m asking – all I want – is for similar empathy, similar understanding, to be extended to the many millions of women whose sole crime is wanting their concerns to be heard without receiving threats and abuse.”
In the aftermath of the social media frenzy, Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint and more Harry Potter stars publicly stood in solidarity with the trans community. Redmayne, who earned an Oscar nomination for playing a trans woman in 2015’s The Danish Girl, also spoke out against Rowling’s stance.
“Respect for transgender people remains a cultural imperative, and over the years I have been trying to constantly educate myself,” he said in a statement to Us Weekly in June. “This is an ongoing process. As someone who has worked with both J.K. Rowling and members of the trans community, I wanted to make it absolutely clear where I stand. I disagree with Jo’s comments. Trans women are women, trans men are men and non-binary identities are valid. … They simply want to live their lives peacefully, and it’s time to let them do so.”
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