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Helena Bonham Carter says it’s “horrendous” to speak out against JK Rowling’s transphobia

LOS ANGELES - NOV 16: Helena Bonham Carter arrives for the AFI Fest 'The Crown' Gala Screening on November 16, 2019 in Hollywood, CA
LOS ANGELES - NOV 16: Helena Bonham Carter arrives for the AFI Fest 'The Crown' Gala Screening on November 16, 2019 in Hollywood, CAPhoto: Shutterstock

Helena Bonham Carter, the actress who played the dark sorceress Bellatrix Lestrange in the Harry Potter film series, defended the book series’ author JK Rowling amid criticism of her anti-trans views.

Carter told The Times UK that the public pushback against Rowling’s transphobia is “horrendous,” and “a load of bollocks.” Rowling has claimed that trans rights threaten the sexual and mental well-being of cisgender women and that transgender advocates are persuading young people to medically transition. Neither assertion is backed by data.

“She’s allowed her opinion, particularly if she’s suffered abuse,” Carter told the aforementioned publication, referencing Rowling’s past admissions of experiencing sexual assault and domestic abuse.

“Everybody carries their own history of trauma and forms their opinions from that trauma and you have to respect where people come from and their pain,” Carter said. “You don’t all have to agree on everything — that would be insane and boring. She’s not meaning it aggressively, she’s just saying something out of her own experience.”

“You can’t ban people. I hate cancel culture,” Carter added. “It’s been taken to the extreme, the judgementalism of people… It has become quite hysterical and there’s a kind of witch hunt and a lack of understanding.”

When asked about Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and other Harry Potter film stars who have publicly spoken against Rowling’s views, Carter said, “Personally I feel they should let her have her opinions, but I think they’re very aware of protecting their own fan base and their generation.”

Rowling first expressed anti-trans views in 2019 by tweeting her support for an anti-transgender activist. Since then, she hasn’t stopped attacking transgender people. She regularly spreads fearmongering misinformation about how trans women would potentially commit assaults if allowed in women’s restrooms, has written long essays denigrating trans women, repeats baseless conspiracy theories about kids being coerced into transitioning, and promotes transphobic merchandise vendors on social media.

Although Carter said that Rowling doesn’t mean her transphobia “aggressively,” she has called a politician who supports trans rights a “destroyer of women’s rights” and her words have been used to kill pro-transgender legislation in the United States. Her supporters have also hounded gay comedian Graham Norton and three transgender equality activists off of social media for denouncing her views.

Rowling has said that she’s too rich to care about alienating her fans. The Fantastic Beasts film series based on her books reportedly ended because of her anti-trans views.

During her interview with the Times, Carter also defended actor Johnny Depp over domestic abuse allegations he has faced. She said Depp was “completely vindicated” after a public defamation trial involving his former romantic partner Amber Heard. Depp is a frequent co-star of Carter’s and also the godfather to her children.

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