Ralph Fiennes ‘can’t understand the vitriol directed at’ transphobe JK Rowling

Filmfest Muenchen 2018 / Ralph FIENNES.

I’ll admit that there’s a lot I don’t understand about TERFdom, which seems to be all over the place in the UK specifically. Instead of feminists understanding that inclusionary politics mean that all marginalized and demeaned groups can rise together, Trans-exclusionary Radical Feminists believe that feminism is a zero-sum game and that if they support transgender women’s rights to exist, be free from marginalization and free from violence, then somehow that hurts or takes away from cisgender women. I’m not sure if JK Rowling considers herself a TERF but she absolutely uses their talking points and arguments.

Rowling has argued – repeatedly and publicly – that transphobia is fine with her, that no one should lose their job for transphobia, that she’s the one being persecuted as a transphobe and that her transphobia should have no consequences. It’s been… a lot. And much of it has been really stupid, like arguing with a transphobic wall. Throughout this nearly two-year ordeal, Rowling clearly sees herself as the victim because people tweet about her transphobia, as opposed to, you know, the transgender people who deal with very real violence and hate daily. Well… Ralph Fiennes, who starred as you know who in the Harry Potter series, has some thoughts about Rowling’s mess.

Ralph Fiennes is wading into the heated controversy surrounding J.K. Rowling’s stance on transgender rights. The actor, who played the villainous Lord Voldemort across four Harry Potter films, expressed sympathy for the franchise author, whose comments have received widespread criticism.

“I can’t understand the vitriol directed at her,” the actor told The Telegraph in an interview published Wednesday. “I can understand the heat of an argument, but I find this age of accusation and the need to condemn irrational. I find the level of hatred that people express about views that differ from theirs, and the violence of language towards others, disturbing.”

[From THR]

Part of me thinks that Ralph hasn’t actually been following the whole thing, or that he was briefed on the situation from Rowling herself. That’s not an excuse though – he absolutely knows better and I sincerely hope he apologizes. I’ll say it again for those in the back: Rowling isn’t the victim here. She’s actively dehumanizing transgender people and marginalizing their lived experiences and now she’s facing the consequences for her transphobia. I’m so disappointed in Ralph.

J.K. Rowling at arrivals for FINDING THE...

Filmfest Muenchen 2018 / Ralph FIENNES.

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red.

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54 Responses to “Ralph Fiennes ‘can’t understand the vitriol directed at’ transphobe JK Rowling”

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  1. Darla says:

    Oh wow, I just recently saw him in Maid in Manhattan. It was on tv on a rainy weekend. He has not aged well. Also, shutting up is free and I don’t know when these people are gonna get that into their thick heads?

    • AnnaKist says:

      Oh, wow. I turn my back for a few hours and…Good grief! What happened to him?!

      • Miss Margo says:

        The British tend to age really badly… Asian and black don’t crack, but British… Crack a lot.

    • molly says:

      Yes, shutting up is FREE! I will never understand people who come out of no where to insert themselves into something that has nothing to do with them. JK Rowling does not need support. Her and her piles of money and transphobic soul are just fine without Ralph Feinnes getting involved. Be an ally or STFU.

    • AlpineWitch says:

      Don’t be. I have an acquaintance and a friend who met him, both agreed he is an obnoxious and vile twat.

      I am not surprised he is caping for Rowling.

      • LillyfromLillooet says:

        I think I need to get a “Shutting Up is Free” coffee mug.


  2. Oh_Hey says:

    When literal Voldemort is coming to your defense the serious articles and the jokes both wrote themselves.
    Do they not understand that what disturbs the general public is the the violence and discrimination against trans people not slight criticism against rich cishet white women with literal billions of dollars.

  3. Eleonora says:

    I know that she used to be a hero to many people who identified with Harry Potter, for growing up in an abusive situation and being an outcast.

    Too bad she couldn’t be inclusive to people who suffer so much abuse and ostracization.

  4. Merricat says:

    Rowling is using her very powerful platform to demean and disenfranchise transgender people. That’s why the vitriol, Ralph.

    • AlpineWitch says:

      Spot on. I don’t get why her defenders refuse to understand that due to her platform she has an immense reach worldwide and she is using it to hurt people.

      She is vile. After the last debacle I gave away all my 7 HP books to a charity shop. I would have never been able to re-read them without thinking of her vileness.

  5. Mac says:

    Rowling is only interested in the right of rich white women to express their transphobia without consequences.

  6. Amy Bee says:

    Transphobia is not a view it’s an act of discrimination.

    • whatWHAT? says:

      THIS! and I was going to say that the problem is that her “view that differs from” others CAN GET PEOPLE KILLED.

      *face palm*

      drives me nuts that people don’t get it. it’s not just a different view, it’s bigotry.

      PS MY “view” is that he’s gross and I’ve felt that way ever since I heard that story about him having unprotected sex with a random flight attendant IN the airplane bathroom during a flight. just EW.

    • sunny says:

      This! How do people not understand the distinction?

  7. MF1 says:

    When will celebs learn to STFU about their offensive views? Honestly, you’d think Ralph Fiennes could’ve said, “Sorry, I haven’t been following the press around JKR so I can’t comment like that. I had a good time working with her and I wish her all the best.”

  8. AMJ says:

    1) Voldemort coming to one’s defence is a great sign. 2) Just being petty: he really should stop pretending he has hair and just shave it all off. Stanley Tucci is sexy, grandpa hair is not

  9. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    And who would expect something different from Voldemort? And yes, berating people for their belief system is against my, ‘religion.’ BUT. If swaths of people are marginalized, condemned, oppressed, excluded, et al, it should not surprise anyone they would be fought for. Passionately. And, hopefully, without a thought regarding their personal career and social status. Mrs. Potter isn’t being cancelled because of her personal opinions. She’s being cancelled because she’s using her very public platform to disparage a community. Publicly. Anyone announcing shit online for all to see is an open invitation, in perpetuity, for both positive and negative reinforcement of the issue as it progresses through time. So thank you Voldemort for your Fiennes forensic analysis. You’re included now. Bravo!

  10. Leslie says:

    I don’t read it a him defending her transphobia. I read is as him saying the hatred she’s getting – like death threats and such – is too much.

    • Tiffany says:

      And how is that for irony?

    • Purple prankster says:

      I understood it the same way, Leslie.

    • mynameispearl says:

      Yeah she’s been getting a lot of rape and death threats online, its fine to disagree with what she is saying, but telling her to go choke on my girl dick isn’t ok (doubly that considering she is a survivor ofr domestic violence).

      I think that’s what he is getting at rather than what she herself said, which he may in fact disagree with.

      Children were submitting illustrations for her children’s book the Ickabog, and some of these rape threats from activists were coming through on the illustration tweets. Its more than a bit fucked up to threaten to rape or murder a woman because you don’t agree with what she has said.

      • h-barista says:

        There are clearly those who benefit from ratcheting up the threats of violence. Very sad that more do not see this.

    • AlpineWitch says:

      She invited the trolls in though. If she had shut up instead of inserting herself in a conversation she was not part of, she wouldn’t have received hatred or death threats.

      Nobody was attacking her directly, she actively looked for the controversy. No sympathy from me, sorry.

    • Jules says:

      I don’t see how Ralph comes out for the many trans people who get hate and vitriol as well as their rights being taken away due to Rowling using her giant platform to spew uninformed lies about trans people.
      So no, him saying Rowling doesn’t deserve this but not even thinking for one second about the many people who don’t have Rowling’s platform, money and Hollywood friends who are victims of her hatred is ignorant at best.

  11. NotSoSimpleTaylor says:

    Of course, the creators of social constructions are not understanding that their views of biological sex is just another social construct.

    I will never understand the transphobia in the United Kingdom. As a Danish outsider looking in, it’s disgusting that a person’s validity is even up for debate. This alone makes me glad the EU is rid of them.

    • TQ says:

      Yes, as an American in the UK the mainstreaming of transphobic views as ‘part of the [legit] debate’ is infuriating. These same transphobes get outraged when you call them transphobic. It’s not acceptable when you support discrimination against trans people.

    • AlpineWitch says:

      I am a migrant who lives in UK and I agree with you.

      It’s worrying that such a big share of British people hold such disgusting views (racism, transphobia, xenophobia, plus their inability to come to terms with past etc.) and yes it feels like the EU is well rid of this inward-looking country that seems to wish to go back to the 19th century instead of living in the 21st.

  12. Lucy says:

    Not to say Ralph is a bad person or anything, but it’s telling how the younger members of the HP cast have mostly spoken in favour of the trans community whereas several of the older ones (not all of them ofc) have sided with JK without even addressing the problem with the way she thinks.

    • Merricat says:

      I think it IS somewhat generational. It’s harder for many older people to identify and give up all the ways in which various bigotries have been inculcated in them. It’s uncomfortable and difficult at a time when they’re not inclined to do uncomfortable and difficult things. I’m not excusing it, just contextualizing it.

      • Miss Jupitero says:

        I’ve had the feeling for awhile now that JKR has been rallying people she has worked with to speak up for her. I don’t believe for a minute that Fiennes wasn’t approached and briefed by her on this.

        What’s interesting is how few are siding with her in this. Ralph Fiennes and John Cleese? Anyone else?

        I am encouraged by all the many actors in the HP franchise who have spoken up to defend trans people. This is the new generation.

      • Totorochan says:

        @Merricat, as an older person I would say that it’s not even that we internalised transphobia, but that we weren’t even aware. Growing up I think I had heard of two trans people, Christine Jorgensen and Renée Richards, and had no idea that trans people weren’t very, very rare. Trans people and issues weren’t even on my radar, and I grew up pre-internet. Of course after the internet got going we all began to learn, but it’s quite a novel concept to many older people, I think. But many are also learning and accepting.

      • JK says:

        Totorochan, I feel the same way. I still have a lot to learn on these issues but I am happy and hopeful for the younger generations. My daughter’s school, and it seems to be the case in other schools here, gets speakers to give chats on LGBTQ, climate change, women’s rights and other issues. They engage in activism and protests. My daughter has taught me so much. The kids are definitely heading in the right direction.

  13. Tiffany says:

    What is it gonna take for some of these people to just sit there, keep their trash takes to themselves and count their money?

    • Mabs A'Mabbin says:

      It’ll never happen. It’s never happened in the past, and it’ll never happen in the future. Oh it’ll morph to and fro, an amoeba wafting through time, but there will always be people, as an example, who don’t take what scientists say seriously and people who overreact. Logical practicality, across the board acceptance and praise of all human life is simply too idealistic for some personalities.

  14. Hyacinth Bucket says:

    Lord Voldemort says what?

  15. detritus says:

    Terfs are incredibly self centered. They feel their struggle is diminished by including trans women. There are also some traumatized women who love women who don’t like penises even on women. They use that as excuse to be hateful.

    It’s not like trans women didn’t hear and deal with all the misogyny afab heard. It may not always have been directed at them, but it’s isn’t always for afab women either. Misogyny is ever present and pretending our trans sisters face LESS of it is pretty ridiculous.

    Also, Fiennes? It would have cost you nothing to be silent. You aren’t standing up for a victim here, you’re pleasing a hate monger.

    • Malificent says:

      The TERF view is, ironically, exactly like a lot of toxic masculine viewpoints that power is a zero-sum game. That if one group gains power or recognition, it automatically means a loss for another group. Kindness costs nothing.

    • AlpineWitch says:

      Detritus, I agree with everything you said but I would like to add that Fiennes is actually known in UK for being a terrible person anyway.

  16. Celebitchy says:

    If you see a terf comment do not respond other than to comment “troll” and we will see that and ban the person

  17. Miranda says:

    It’s really quite simple, Ralph. Trans youth have a STAGGERING suicidality rate. Over half of all trans male teens will attempt suicide at least once, and around 30% of trans female teens. The numbers for non-binary youth are over 40%. These young people–you know, Rowling’s target audience–need parents who won’t shame them. They need teachers and friends who will support them. They need the wider world to strive to understand and affirm them. This compassion costs nothing, and can make all the difference for a trans or non-binary kid. This is literally a matter of life or death. They don’t need a ludicrously wealthy, ignorant, self-absorbed TERF trying to turn this issue into some sort of f–ked up Suffering Olympics.

    • Elizabeth says:

      Exactly and on top of that the statistics on murders and literal violence inflicted on transgender people are staggering. “The violence of language” I agree is very real and I condemn death and rape threats of course but transgender people are facing PHYSICAL violence, rape, and murder on a daily basis and completely ignoring that is abominable.

  18. ElleV says:

    I see the comment I was responding to was deleted. For BC and others who feel threatened by transwomen in women’s spaces, I’d encourage you to check out Contrapoints on Youtube if you’re open to understanding this better – she does a great video on Rowling and on the sports issue.

  19. SarahCS says:

    Middle aged white man doesn’t understand the problem with people getting angry when already marginalised groups are further attacked? Sure.

    He’s doing a great job of keeping Voldemort alive for her.

    • Nev says:

      Now I can’t watch The English Patient the same way. Side eye.
      One of my fave movies visually. Ugh.

  20. Jane says:

    I didn’t get how unhinged and obsessed with trans people she was until I saw a video on youtube by contrapoints. Transphobes often speak in a way that can make them seem reasonable and even caring if you don’t look closely. They make themselves look like victims. It’s one of the reasons I hate that some people express their anger toward her by being sexist, death threats, rape threaths etc. Some people need to understand that it’s never okay to be racist/transphobic/sexist even if the person is vile. A person like JKR can point out to the sexist insults and say she’s a martyr.

  21. Stacy Dresden says:

    Don’t forget Robbie Coltrane defended her as well 🙁

  22. L4frimaire says:

    It’s truly amazing to me that this virulent transphobia, which came about as a wedge issue in politics once they realized they couldn’t bash gay people or gay marriage any more, has been seized upon by certain sectors of the feminist movement. It seems to have really gained traction in the UK, where a lot of feminists over there seem to be not only transphobic, but racist as well. There is no intersectionality anymore. Fiennes is defending Rowling because she’s probably always been gracious to him and her books have set him for life financially, and he’s never had to deal with these issues. No one is attacking and legislating against his existence.

  23. The Recluse says:

    Trans people have it so difficult already. For awhile there every time you looked at the news someone had murdered a trans woman. It’s awful. People need to be treated with love and compassion, especially if they are already facing such vicious discrimination. People just want to be themselves and be free and happy.

  24. RT says:

    I met him once through work and he was horrible. He talks about vitriol but he’s not a nice person.