Eddie Redmayne says he’s alarmed by the online backlash surrounding J.K. Rowling.
The actor – who stars as Newt Scamander in the “Fantastic Beasts” film series, a prequel to Rowling’s “Harry Potter” franchise – made it clear that he doesn’t agree with the author’s controversial remarks on transgender rights that have been widely condemned as transphobic.
Redmayne told the Daily Mail that he has “trans friends and colleagues” that have “their human rights challenged around the world and facing discrimination on a daily basis.”
“There continues to be a hideous torrent of abuse towards trans people online and out in the world that is devastating,” said Redmayne, who earned a best-actor Oscar nomination for his portrayal of transgender artist Lili Elbe in 2015’s “The Danish Girl.”
But, the actor told the Daily Mail that the subsequent backlash the once-revered author has received is “absolutely disgusting.” Redmayne, 38, told the British outlet that he sent Rowling, 55, a personal letter following online “vitriol” aimed her direction.
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In a series of public posts in June, including tweets and a manifesto-esque essay on her website, Rowling voiced her strong opinions on the trans community that conflated sex with gender and defended ideas suggesting that changing one’s biological sex threatens her own gender identity and even her safety. Rowling suggested that by opening the doors to bathrooms and changing rooms to “any man who believes or feels he’s a woman,” the doors are open to all men who wish to come inside.
To many, including transgender “Potter” fans, Rowling’s comments were extraordinarily hateful and harmful. Widespread criticism of the posts as transphobic and factually inaccurate did not stop her from doubling down on her opinions.
Many “Harry Potter” stars, including Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson, denounced Rowling’s remarks. “Transgender women are women,” Radcliffe responded, while Watson added: “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.”
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Radcliffe and Watson’s working relationship with Rowling ended in 2011 following the conclusion of the “Harry Potter” film series. Redmayne, on the other hand, is still actively working with Rowling on the third “Fantastic Beasts” film.
But that hasn’t stopped him from standing his ground.
“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,” Redmayne wrote in a statement provided to Variety, published in June.
“I disagree with Jo’s comments,” Redmayne continued. “Trans women are women, trans men are men and non-binary identities are valid. I would never want to speak on behalf of the community but I do know that my dear transgender friends and colleagues are tired of this constant questioning of their identities, which all too often results in violence and abuse. They simply want to live their lives peacefully, and it’s time to let them do so.”
Contributing: Kelly Lawler
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Eddie Redmayne: ‘Vitriol’ at J.K. Rowling is ‘absolutely disgusting’