(LNation) – Cancel culture is alive and kicking in Seattle, WA. It doesn’t seem to matter who you are: If you dare to speak an unpopular opinion, be prepared for backlash and perhaps censorship. Such is the case with author J.K. Rowling, whose transgender views have seen her name erased from a Harry Potter exhibit at the Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP).
Visitors to the museum can observe all sorts of Harry Potter paraphernalia but don’t expect to see Rowling’s name or image anywhere among them. Chris Morre, the museum’s exhibition project manager, who identifies as trans, says the author holds “super hateful and divisive” opinions toward the trans community. He wrote a 1,400-word blog post titled “She-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named,” slamming the fantasy world creator with the subtitle “There’s a certain cold, heartless, joy-sucking entity in the world of Harry Potter and, this time, it is not actually a Dementor.”
Rowling has been hit with acrimony since she started being vocal about her views on certain transgender issues, specifically medications and gender-altering surgeries for youth. On July 5, 2020, she tweeted about the subject:
“Many health professionals are concerned that young people struggling with their mental health are being shunted towards hormones and surgery when this may not be in their best interests. Many, myself included, believe we are watching a new kind of conversion therapy for young gay people, who are being set on a lifelong path of medicalisation that may result in the loss of their fertility and/or full sexual function.
“The long-term health risks of cross-sex hormones have now been tracked over a lengthy period. These side-effects are often minimised or denied by trans activists … None of that may trouble you or disturb your belief in your own righteousness. But if so, I can’t pretend I care much about your bad opinion of me.”
The Harry Potter creator has explicitly said many times that she supports the transgender community, just not everything about it. In another controversial tweet on June 6, 2020, she argued against an op-ed piece that said “people who menstruate.” She responded, “’People who menstruate.’ I’m sure there used to be a word for these people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?”
The author’s recent books also have garnered disapproval. The story in Troubled Blood, written under the pen name Robert Galbraith, revolves around a cold case of a woman who disappeared in 1974, and, as Liberty Nation reported, is suspected of being one of the victims of a transvestite serial killer. A review by The Telegraph pointed out: “One wonders what critics of Rowling’s stance on trans issues will make [of] a book whose moral seems to be: never trust a man in a dress,” which sparked the hashtag wave of #RIPJKRowling.
Rowling has not just been criticized for her views, she’s received threats. In July 2021, she tweeted, “Yes, but now hundreds of trans activists have threatened to beat, rape assassinate and bomb me I’ve realised that this movement poses no risk to women whatsoever.” And those who support her come under fire, too. Remember how Netflix had to come to the defense of comedian Dave Chappelle when he backed Rowling during his show?
Seattle’s MoPOP inducted Rowling into its Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame in 2018 but now has wiped her existence from the fantasy world of Harry Potter, which, by the way, is about misfits finding a place to fit into a different world – something fans have praised over the years. “She-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named” is now criticized not only for her views but also for the creation of Hogwarts, according to Morre’s blog post:
“Her transphobic viewpoints are front and center these days, but we can’t forget all the other ways that she’s problematic: the support of antisemitic creators, the racial stereotypes that she used while creating characters, the incredibly white wizarding world, the fat shaming, the lack of LGBTQIA+ representation, the super-chill outlook on the bigotry and othering of those that don’t fit into the standard wizarding world, and so much more.”
MoPOP isn’t the first to try to erase Rowling from association with the fantasy world she created. As Glamour pointed out, Canadian printmaker and book artist Laur Flom, a trans person, bought secondhand Harry Potter books and changed the covers with redesigned versions that don’t have her name on them. In a TikTok post from February 2022, Flom announced, “My aim with this project is to engage critically and give an option to people who do still want to enjoy Harry Potter without supporting J.K. Rowling.”
The point is, without Rowling, there would be no Harry Potter, no Hogwarts. Cancel culture is hard at work, reaping the benefits of art, books, and movies they enjoy but erasing the person who created them and all the hard work that went into their creation. As Morre wrote, “Long conversations are being had and a lot of considerations around what to do with problematic people and content because instances like this are going to keep happening.”
In other words, give us the goods, but stay out of the picture.