The Harry Potter reunion special did not touch on author J.K. Rowling's recent campaign against transgender rights, but star Rupert Grint has taken the opportunity to open up about it. In a new interview with The Times, Grint compared Rowling to an aunt in his eyes, writing: "I don't necessarily agree with everything my auntie says, but she's still my auntie."
Rowling has been under fire for her transphobic rhetoric in recent years, and the author has repeatedly doubled down. In 2020, Grint was one of many stars of the Harry Potter movies to condemn Rowling's words, telling The Times: "I firmly stand with the trans community and echo the sentiments expressed by many of my peers. Trans women are women. Trans men are men. We should all be entitled to live with love and without judgment." This week, he took part in the outlet's "What I've Learnt" series, addressing Rowling a bit more.
"I liken J.K. Rowling to an auntie," he said, later adding that taking on Rowling's anti-transgender crusade is "a tricky one." Rowling has never commented on the cast's disagreement with her in her essays against transgender rights.
Grint last addressed this issue in a 2021 interview with Esquire, saying that he had done his best to contradict Rowling without saying more than he was qualified to. He said: "Sometimes silence is even louder. I felt like I had to because I think it was important to. I mean, I don't want to talk about all that... Generally, I'm not an authority on the subject. Just out of kindness, and just respecting people. I think it's a valuable group that I think needs standing up for."
Rowling first addressed transgender rights in 2019 by publicly defending Maya Forstater, who sued her former employer claiming that her contract was not renewed because of comments she had made about transgender people. Rowling then lashed out at trans-inclusive language in June of 2020, arguing that the phrase "people who menstruate" was an implicit denial of the existence of biological sex. Her comments were widely condemned, including by groups like GLAAD, and it was at this point that stars like Grint, Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Bonnie Wright, Katie Leung and Eddie Redmayne voice public support for the transgender community.
Rowling continues to clash with transgender activists on social media, and many fans say they cannot enjoy the Harry Potter franchise in good conscience knowing that Rowling will profit from it. She appeared in the reunion special only in archival footage from 2019, although according to a report by Entertainment Weekly, she was invited to get more involved. The special is streaming now on HBO Max.