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HBO urged not to give JK Rowling ‘undeserved platform’ with Harry Potter reboot series

Maggie Baska January 28, 2021
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Harry Potter author JK Rowling attends the Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them premiere in 2016

JK Rowling attends the Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them premiere in 2016 (Getty/Jim Spellman)

HBO Max “doesn’t need to saddle itself” with a Harry Potter TV series, a culture critic has said, as she called on the network not to give author JK Rowling an “undeserved platform”.

In an essay for NBC’s Think, culture critic Ani Bundel argued HBO Max’s plans to create a Harry Potter television series would give JK Rowling an “undeserved platform” in light of her explosive remarks on trans people over the past year.

HBO Max is reportedly having “early-stage exploratory meetings” for Harry Potter live-action TV series. Unnamed sources told The Hollywood Reporter that HBO Max executives “have engaged in multiple conversations with potential writers exploring various ideas that would bring the beloved property to television”.

After The Hollywood Reporter broke the news, Warner Bros. and HBO Max issued a statement to Variety denying that anything was going forward at this time. But multiple sources told Variety the project is in the very early stages.

Bundel said, by considering reviving the Harry Potter series, HBO Max would be “giving Rowling another platform” in which to spread her “transphobic cause”. She argued it would be “deeply wrongheaded” for the network to allow it.

Rowling received tremendous backlash due to a series of anti-trans tweets and a lengthy essay she published on the subject in June 2020. Bundel said the tweets and essay were a “pivot sure to shock her audience”, describing the essay as “a shockingly unreadable piece, full of pseudoscientific nonsense to dress up undeniable bigotry.”

She said the Harry Potter series “preached messages of tolerance and inclusivity”, which endeared it to fans. Yet, Bundel claims Rowling’s tweets and essay showed she is “dedicated to the transphobic cause”.

Bundel said: “Here was the woman credited with turning a whole generation of readers into progressives, suddenly, and loudly, declaring that intolerance was sometimes acceptable.”

“One assumed that any TV series would also be predicted on championing diversity and equality for all. But how can fans take such a thing seriously when the author herself is tearing down the marginalised?”

Bundel admitted she wasn’t surprised the Harry Potter series might be remade as the streaming wars continue to heat up, and companies are trying to one-up each other to garner the most subscribers. However, she said HBO Max “certainly doesn’t need to saddle itself” with a Harry Potter series.

Bundle said: “On a more practical level, Rowling’s post changed her bankability. From the actors made famous by her movies to the fansites dedicated to the Wizarding World to Warner Bros itself, just about everyone put out statements distancing themselves from Rowling’s beliefs.”

Related topics: Harry Potter, HBO Max, JK Rowling, Trans, transphobia

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