JK Rowling cut from Museum of Pop Culture over ‘transphobic views’
The Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP) in Seattle has removed all mention of JK Rowling from its Harry Potter exhibit, describing the author as a “cold, heartless, joy-sucking entity”.
In a blog post from May, exhibitions project manager Chris Moore, who describes himself as a transgender Harry Potter ex-fanatic, claimed the museum’s position is that Rowling’s views are too “hateful and divisive” to be ignored.
Moore said MoPOP had gone through “long conversations [regarding] problematic people and content”, and decided to keep items related to Harry Potter in the museum, but remove references to JK Rowling herself.
“While the Harry Potter series is a major player in the pop culture sphere, we wanted to give credit to the work of the actors, prop makers and costume designers in our Fantasy gallery… which is why you’ll see the artifacts without any mention or image of the author,” he wrote.
“It’s not a perfect solution, but it’s what we were able to do in the short-term while determining long-term practices.”
Moore’s post argued that the author has also featured “antisemitic” stereotypes – a reference to criticism of the Gringotts goblins – in the Harry Potter series, along with an “incredibly white wizarding world”, and a lack of LGBTQ+ representation.
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He added that the queer community was “concerned for our transgender siblings”, noting an increase in transphobic rhetoric and the number of new anti-LGBTQ+ laws in the United States.
Rowling faced criticism for her views on the trans community in 2020, when she retweeted an opinion piece mocking it for using inclusive language around periods.
Shortly after, she wrote a lengthy blog post laying out the reasoning behind her “gender-critical” views, a move which was highly criticised by the LGBTQ+ community.
Since then, some stars of the film adaptations of her books, including Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson have criticised her views, with the former saying he wanted “queer and trans kids” who had been “hurt” to know that “not everybody in the franchise felt that way”.
Earlier this year, Rowling claimed that her comments had been “profoundly” misunderstood and that she “never set out to upset anyone”.
Appearing on the podcast The Witch Trials of JK Rowling, she said: “When I first became interested, then deeply troubled by what I saw as a cultural movement that was liberal in its methods and very questionable in its ideas, I absolutely knew that if I spoke out, many folks would be deeply unhappy with me.
“Time will tell whether I’ve got this wrong. I can only say that I’ve thought about it deeply and hard and long. I’ve listened, I promise, to the other side, and I believe there is something dangerous about this movement, and it must be challenged.”
Rowling has repeatedly denied allegations she is transphobic.
MoPOP’s chief executive, Michele Smith, said in a statement: “At the time [of the May blog post], a decision was made to remove references to JK Rowling within the museum and a collective statement posted on our blog.
“Under my leadership, we have practices in place to protect our employees and brand. All views stated by MoPOP are vetted and delivered directly by the organisation. We want to root ourselves in empathy, collaboration and empowerment.
“We believe that by valuing and amplifying diverse perspectives, we can create a more inclusive society where everyone’s unique talents and contributions are recognised and celebrated.”
Representatives for JK Rowling have told PinkNews they would not be commenting on this story.
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