It was her call. J.K. Rowling said she was not intentionally excluded from HBO Max’s Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts special earlier this year.
“I was asked to be on that, yeah, and I decided I didn’t want to do it,” the author, 57, told host Graham Norton during an appearance on his Virgin Radio UK show on Saturday, August 27. “I thought it was about the films more than the book — quite rightly. I mean, that was what the anniversary was about.”
The January 2022 reunion featured Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint — who played Harry Potter, Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley, respectively, in all eight films — on the set with dozen of supporting actors, directors and producers to reflect on making the movie. Rowling, however, was not present. The special used 2019 archival footage of the Wizarding World creator.
“No one said don’t [join the reunion],” the writer, who was promoting her latest Robert Galbraith book, explained to Norton. “I was asked to do it and I decided not to.”
Despite some of them speaking out against her, Rowling added that she still keeps in touch with the cast. “I have [kept in touch], yes, I do. Some more than others, but that was always the case. You know, some I knew better than others,” she said.
Rowling first came under fire in June 2020, when she shared multiple posts on Twitter that appeared to slam the trans community. “If sex isn’t real, there’s no same-sex attraction. If sex isn’t real, the lived reality of women globally is erased,” Rowling wrote at the time, arguing that she had researched the topic for meany years before sharing her opinion. “I know and love trans people, but erasing the concept of sex removes the ability of many to meaningfully discuss their lives. It isn’t hate to speak the truth.”
After being labeled a “TERF” (trans-exclusionary radical feminist), Rowling doubled down on her stance. “Accusations of TERFery have been sufficient to intimidate many people, institutions and organisations I once admired, who’re cowering before the tactics of the playground,” she claimed in a lengthy June 2020 essay. “Speaking as a biological woman, a lot of people in positions of power really need to grow a pair (which is doubtless literally possible, according to the kind of people who argue that clownfish prove humans aren’t a dimorphic species).”
Several Potter stars appeared to distance themselves from Rowling later that month, including all three main stars. “I firmly stand with the trans community,” Grint, 34, said in a statement to Us Weekly at the time. “Trans women are women. Trans men are men. We should all be entitled to live with love and without judgment.”
Watson, 32, encouraged donations to trans-friendly organizations Mama Cash and Mermaids at the time. “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,” the Little Women actress wrote via Twitter.
Radcliffe, 33, wrote an essay for LGBTQ+ organization The Trevor Project to condemn her views. “While Jo is unquestionably responsible for the course my life has taken, as someone who has been honored to work with and continues to contribute to The Trevor Project for the last decade, and just as a human being, I feel compelled to say something at this moment,” the Lost City star wrote amid the backlash. “Transgender women are women. Any statement to the contrary erases the identity and dignity of transgender people and goes against all advice given by professional health care associations who have far more expertise on this subject matter than either Jo or I.”