Harry Potter event canceled over JK Rowling’s comments on gender
Organizers of a book festival in New Zealand have canceled an event featuring the popular children's book series Harry Potter over past comments on the transgender debate made by author J.K. Rowling.
The news website Stuff reported that the upcoming Featherston Booktown Karukatea Festival, an annual event scheduled to occur this weekend in New Zealand’s Wellington Region, decided to remove a Harry Potter-themed quiz because of the past comments on gender and women’s rights made by Rowling.
According to Stuff, this year’s festival “will feature a panel discussion hosted by veteran broadcaster Ian Fraser examining the phenomenon of cancel culture and its impact on New Zealand art and literature.” In response to the outcry over the inclusion of the Harry Potter-themed quiz in the program, the festival’s board chairman, Peter Biggs, stressed that decision to pull the quiz event was not made “lightly.”
However, the festival elected to nix the segment after consulting with members of the LGBT community, the literary sector and local supporters.
Rowling, a self-described feminist, came under fire last year for comments that critics have deemed transphobic.
Addressing an op-ed that contained the phrase “people who menstruate” in the headline, Rowling sarcastically tweeted: “I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?” The point of that tweet was to highlight that the correct “word for those people” is women.
In a separate Twitter thread sent out on the same day, Rowling pushed back on the idea that “sex isn’t real.”
“If sex isn’t real, there’s no same-sex attraction. If sex isn’t real, the lived reality of women globally is erased,” she wrote. “I know and love trans people, but erasing the concept of sex removes the ability of many to meaningfully discuss their lives. It isn’t hate to speak the truth.”