In response to the ongoing J.K. Rowling controversy, Harry Melling, who portrayed Dudley Dursley in the Harry Potter movies, has expressed his opinion. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, released in 2001, marked the start of the Harry Potter film series, which is based on Rowling’s eponymous fantasy novels. The Harry Potter franchise, which has so far produced three Fantastic Beasts movies, is currently the fourth-highest grossing movie series of all time. Despite being admired for her writing, Rowling’s transphobic commentary first drew attention in 2018 and she has since continued to spread misinformation about the transgender community. She is now a contentious figure online as a result.
Melling responds to Rowling’s controversy in a recent interview with The Independent, disagreeing with the author’s anti-trans stance while remaining neutral. According to Melling, “transgender women are women & transgender men are men” and that everyone has the right to choose how they want to identify. The following is Melling’s statement:
“I can only speak for myself, and what I feel, to me, is very simple, which is that transgender women are women and transgender men are men. Every single person has the right to choose who they are and to identify themselves as what’s true to themselves. I don’t want to join the debate of pointing fingers and saying, ‘That’s right, that’s wrong,’ because I don’t think I’m the correct spokesperson for that. But I do believe that everybody has the right to choose.”
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.— Emma Watson (@EmmaWatson) June 10, 2020
J.K. Rowling’s Anti-trans Statements: Responses From Other Harry Potter Actors
Melling is by no means the first actor from the Harry Potter series to express open disagreement with Rowling’s position. Daniel Radcliffe, who plays Harry Potter, issued an apology for Rowling’s transphobic remarks in June 2020 and expressed regret for the suffering the author’s words had caused. He continued by saying “Female transgender people are women. Any claim to the contrary robs transgender people of their identity and dignity.” In addition, Radcliffe said that fans should feel free and secure to identify with any Harry Potter characters they believe to be LGBTQ+. Harry Potter actors Emma Watson & Eddie Redmayne are two more who have come out against Rowling.
On the other hand, some Harry Potter stars have sided with Rowling, many of whom believe the criticism she has faced is excessive. Helena Bonham Carter, who plays Bellatrix Lestrange, recently stated that Rowling is “allowed her opinion” and that the reaction to her comments has been “horrendous.” Ralph Fiennes, who plays Voldemort, said the abuse she has been subjected to is “disgusting” and “appalling” in an earlier statement from October.
While some Wizarding World actors have spoken out on either side of the controversy, others have opted to remain silent. Melling’s comment stands out, though, in that he declines to weigh in on the discussion not because he doesn’t want to upset Rowling, but rather because he recognizes that as a cisgender, male actor, he isn’t the “correct spokesperson” for transgender issues. But as long as Rowling expresses her transphobic views, more outspoken Harry Potter actors might eventually come forward to offer their opinions.
Source: The Independent