J.K. Rowling

J.K. Rowling speaks out about her absence from the Harry Potter 20th anniversary reunion special: ‘I didn’t want to do it,’ she says.

J.K. Rowling debunked claims that she was left out of the Harry Potter reunion special earlier this year.

The author of the Harry Potter series did not appear alongside stars Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint in HBO Max’s Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts, nor did she sit down for an interview to reflect on adapting her series into the beloved films. Instead, producers used archival footage of Rowling from 2019, leading viewers to believe her absence was due to her public image being tainted by controversial remarks about the trans community.

During a radio interview with Graham Norton on Saturday, Rowling reiterated that she was invited to participate, but she ultimately declined. “I was asked to be on it,” she explained. “I made the decision that I didn’t want to do it. To be sure, I thought it was more about the movies than the books.” She continued, “‘Don’t,’ no one said. I was asked to do it, but I declined.”

As previously reported by EW, Rowling was invited to participate in the special, but her team decided that archival footage of the author would suffice. Sources close to the situation revealed ahead of the special’s January premiere that her remarks about the trans community and the controversy surrounding them had no bearing on the team’s decision.

Rowling has been chastised for making transphobic remarks, including taking issue with the term “people who menstruate” and spreading ideology associated with the TERF (Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminists) movement, which holds that trans women are not women, among other things. LGBTQ organisations, including GLAAD and The Trevor Project, have condemned her remarks.

In response to Rowling’s remarks, Harry Potter stars (Radcliffe, Watson, and Eddie Redmayne, who stars in the Harry Potter spin-off franchise Fantastic Beasts) have come out in support of the trans community. The author revealed to Norton that she is still in a relationship with the young actors. “I mean, some more than others,” Rowling said, “but that was always the case.” “You know, I knew some better than others.”

Former co-stars Tom Felton, Matthew Lewis, Bonnie Wright, Evanna Lynch, James and Oliver Phelps, Alfred Enoch, Helena Bonham Carter, Robbie Coltrane, Ralph Fiennes, Jason Isaacs, Gary Oldman, Mark Williams, Ian Hart, and Toby Jones appeared in the special. Director Chris Columbus (Sorcerer’s Stone, Chamber of Secrets), Alfonso Cuarón (Prisoner of Azkaban), Mike Newell (Goblet of Fire), and David Yates (Order of the Phoenix, Half-Blood Prince, and Deathly Hallows 1 and 2) also took part, as did franchise producer David Heyman.

Rowling’s interview with Norton can be heard above.