J.K. Rowling will serve as an executive producer on the upcoming “Harry Potter” television series set to air on Max, formerly known as HBO Max, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav announced Rowling’s involvement in the series at a press conference Wednesday, according to The Hollywood Reporter (THR). The “Harry Potter” author also gave her blessing to the upcoming project and confirmed her involvement in a statement cited by the outlet.
“Max’s commitment to preserving the integrity of my books is important to me, and I’m looking forward to being part of this new adaptation which will allow for a degree of depth and detail only afforded by a long-form television series,” Rowling said. (RELATED: ‘There Is Something Dangerous About This Movement’: JK Rowling Pushes Back Against Pro-Trans Activists)
Your Hogwarts letter is here.
— HBO Max (@hbomax) April 12, 2023
Rowling’s executive role in the upcoming series has brought backlash against the project on social media, stemming from users claiming the streaming service is platforming someone who is allegedly transphobic.
“Rowling is remaking her books primarily or solely because so much of the original cast has come out against her gender nazi bullshit. It’s a whole fucking exercise in laundering her public reputation, a big bet, and it is not going to fucking work,” author Gretchen Felker-Martin tweeted.
“If you interview an actor or filmmaker or executive involved with the Harry Potter tv show and don’t lead with a question about JK Rowling leading a hate group you’re done, over, out of the art club,” writer Sean T. Collins tweeted.
“Rowling’s comments on trans people have been quoted in legislatures that have gone on to restrict trans rights. It’s gone a hell of a long way from ‘very online,’ and I hope they wind up losing money on this project,” social media personality @LouisatheLast tweeted.
Chief Content Officer at HBO and HBO Max Casey Bloys spoke about the potential for negative reactions surrounding Rowling’s involvement in the series, arguing Rowling’s views on transgender issues will not affect the show and dismissing the backlash as an internet phenomenon.
“J.K. is an executive producer, and her insights will be helpful. We are in the Harry Potter business. The TV show is new and exciting, but we’ve been in the Harry Potter business for 20 years; this isn’t a new decision,” Bloys said, according to THR.
“We’re comfortable being in the Potter business. J.K. is a very online conversation … it’s very nuanced and complicated and not something we’re going to get into. Our priority is what’s onscreen. The Harry Potter story is incredibly affirmative and positive about love and acceptance, and that’s our priority, what’s on the screen,” he continued.
Rowling has become a lightning rod in recent years over her opinions on transgenderism. The fantasy author has expressed beliefs that are critical of the transgender movement, which she argues infringes on women’s rights and women’s spaces.
The famous author criticized proposed amendments to Scotland’s Gender Recognition Reform Bill in 2022, which would allow biological men to identify as women on legal documents without being medically diagnosed with gender dysphoria, IndieWire reported. On “The Witch Trials of JK Rowling” podcast, the author said gender changes for children are “one of the worst medical scandals in a century” and argued the medical professionals helping children transition “are creating a climate in which those trying to raise red flags have been intimidated and silenced.”