The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) was forced to apologize after a guest on Evan Davis’ radio show delivered an on-air rant about “Harry Potter” author J.K Rowling — and he allowed the guest to make allegations without pushing back on them.
Davis was interviewing Stacey Henley, a transgender woman and editor-in-chief of video game website The Gamer, about the new Harry Potter-themed game titled “Hogwarts Legacy” and the fact that Henley’s website was refusing to post a review.
“The reason we’re not is really the fact that Harry Potter and the world that Harry Potter exhibits is just entirely connected to JK Rowling, but she has a platform that she uses to push transphobia, that she uses to build up this campaign against trans people, especially in Britain,” Henley claimed on the show that aired February 2. “Supporting this game continues to give JK Rowling a platform in which she can use to hurt people.”
Henley continued to bash Rowling, claiming that the idea was not to ruin anyone’s memories or enjoyment of the popular series or to tell people to burn their Harry Potter books, but at the same time arguing that any support of the author’s future endeavors would hurt transgender people.
“If something that was really special to my childhood was taken away from me because the creator suddenly outed themselves as having these quite nasty views it would be heart breaking,” Henley conceded, adding, “You’re not being asked to give up all those childhood memories. What you’re being asked to do is think of the impact of continuing to support future endeavors.”
“I do think we have to be selective with the kind of art that we support, and if it’s created by somebody who continues to use their platform and their relevance to push forward transphobia and we continue to support them that’s where the line in the sand has to be drawn,” Henley added.
Davis, after Henley had finished, offered one caveat: “Obviously, JK Rowling wouldn’t say she’s transphobic.”
Henley pushed back, however, arguing that because Rowling’s defense of biological women was vocal and very public, people had a right to judge and criticize her for having the wrong opinions.
“This comes back to this idea that if you don’t want to feel bad about buying the game or you can’t judge people. You can judge people. The information out there is for everyone. JK Rowling’s views are not secret, they’re public knowledge,” Henley declared.
After the broadcast, a spokesperson from the BBC addressed the interview, saying, “This is a difficult and contentious area which we do try very hard to cover fairly. However, we should have challenged the claims more directly and we apologize that we did not.”
Rowling has often been attacked for her defense of biological women — particularly those who have been the victims of domestic and sexual abuse — saying that they needed a safe space free of biological males, regardless of their chosen “identities.”