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“Heartstopper” star Sebastian Croft apologizes for involvement in new “Harry Potter” game

“Heartstopper” star Sebastian Croft apologizes for involvement in new “Harry Potter” game
Sebastian CroftPhoto: Courtesy of Netflix

Heartstopper’s Sebastian Croft – who plays evil-ex Ben Hope on the hit Netflix series – has apologized to fans for his involvement in a new Harry Potter video game.

Last week, the official Twitter account for Hogwarts Legacy announced that Croft would voice a playable character in the upcoming game.

Following the announcement, Heartstopper fans were quick to criticize Croft’s involvement with a project under the imprimatur of Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling, who regularly speaks out against trans rights.

“Rejoining the hs fandom for 0.5 seconds to make it very clear that sebastian croft being in the new harry potter game is weird and transphobic and if you’re supporting or defending him you are prioritizing a cis white actor over real trans people who will be harmed,” one Twitter user wrote.

“It’s pretty clear and easy. The LGBTQIA+ community is telling you that supporting JKs IP is harming the community. If you are an ally, you will take that to heart and not support JK or Hogwarts Legacy. If you choose to support, you aren’t an ally when it doesn’t benefit you,” wrote another.

Rowling has been extremely vocal in her anti-trans views. In 2020, she famously posted an essay on her official website outlining her concerns about “trans activism,” which included the baseless assertion that allowing trans women access to women’s restrooms and changing rooms would put cis women in danger of sexual assault. Today the essay reads like a template for much of the moral panic around gender-affirming healthcare for young people and just about every other attack on trans people from right-wing politicians across the U.S.

Rowling has since come out in support of conversion therapy for trans people, and claimed that almost everyone agrees with her, even as famous people that she has worked with condemned her words. More recently, her tweets about trans issues have devolved to the level of trolling.

At least one other Heartstopper fan pointed out that Rowling has not only done untold damage on the issue of trans rights, but has also faced allegations of antisemitism in the characterization of certain Harry Potter creatures.

“okay heartstopper stannies please remember that bash being a part of hogwarts legacy means that he is willingly taking part in a project that project antisemitic stereotypes and actively harms jewish people,” @joshcastilles tweeted.

It’s worth noting, as Buzzfeed has, that according to its website, Rowling was not involved in the creation of Hogwarts Legacy, but the makers of the game worked “closely with her team on all aspects of the game.”

Over the weekend, Croft addressed the criticisms via Twitter, attempting to explain his involvement in the game.

“I was cast in this project over three years ago, back when all Harry Potter was to me, was the magical world I grew up with,” he tweeted on January 14. “This was long before I was aware of JK Rowling’s views. I believe wholeheartedly that trans women are women and trans men are men.”

“I know far more now than I did three years ago, and hope to learn far more in the next 3,” he wrote in another tweet. “I’m really sorry to anyone hurt by this announcement. There is no LGB without the T ❤️”

Fans reacted with a mix of support and further criticism, with a couple suggesting he either return the money he earned from lending his voice to the game or donate it to an organization that supports trans rights.

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