Potter star Ralph Fiennes ‘can’t understand vitriol’ directed at JK Rowling’

Ralph Fiennes has spoken out on author JK Rowling after she faced backlash (Picture: Getty Images)

Harry Potter star Ralph Fiennes has said he ‘can’t understand the vitriol’ directed at JK Rowling after she was criticised for her comments on transgender people.

The actor, who played Voldemort in the franchise, spoke out after the author was accused of being transphobic when she made a comment about trans people and menstruation.

Fiennes, 58, said: ‘I can’t understand the vitriol directed at her.

‘I can understand the heat of an argument, but I find this age of accusation and the need to condemn irrational.’

He added to The Telegraph: ‘I find the level of hatred that people express about views that differ from theirs, and the violence of language towards others, disturbing.’

Rowling first faced backlash last year when she commented on a story with the headline: ‘Opinion: Creating a more equal post-Covid-19 world for people who menstruate’. 

Rowling denied being transphobic (Picture: Getty Images)

Criticising the phrasing, she tweeted: ‘”People who menstruate”. I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud? 

‘If sex isn’t real, there’s no same-sex attraction. If sex isn’t real, the lived reality of women globally is erased. 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.’ 

The author, 55, then denied being transphobic and insisted: ‘I respect every trans person’s right to live any way that feels authentic and comfortable to them. I’d march with you if you were discriminated against on the basis of being trans.

Fiennes starred as Voldemort in the Potter franchise (Picture: PA Images)

‘At the same time, my life has been shaped by being female. I do not believe it’s hateful to say so.’ 

Following her comments, various Potter stars spoke out to support transgender people, including the ‘Golden Trio’ stars, Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter), Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley) and Emma Watson (Hermione Granger).

However, others have since defended Rowling, including Hagrid star Robbie Coltrane and Nearly Headless Nick actor John Cleese.

Previously speaking to Metro.co.uk about why Rowling’s comments might be harmful to transgender people, charity Mermaids said: ‘Anything that spreads misinformation or singles out a minority for simply being themselves is harmful.

‘Trans people are already aware that mainstream media doesn’t often respect them, so to see similar comments coming from an author that provided a much-loved form of escapism can be heartbreaking.’

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