Hogwarts Legacy controversy deepens as WB Games president defends Harry Potter author's right to hold trans-phobic opinions.
The announcement of Hogwarts Legacy has fallen some way short of the joyous occasion publisher WB Games presumably anticipated.
The mounting frequency and vitriol of Harry Potter author JK Rowling’s trans-phobic comments have framed much of the discussion around the game, leaving fans conflicted between supporting the long-awaited RPG or taking a stand.
WB Games was quick to distance itself from the author, noting in an FAQ for Hogwarts Legacy that Rowling was not directly involved, but that ‘her extraordinary body of writing is the foundation of all projects in the Wizarding World.’
As reported by Bloomberg News’ Jason Schreier, new comments from WB Games president David Haddad add a further layer to an already-stacked controversy.
During an internal company Q&A with employees, Haddad fielded questions about the criticism of JK Rowling’s views, defending the author’s right ‘to hold her opinions.’
“Not a lot I can comment on, other than, since we did get so many, I wanted to be responsive the best way I could. The way I think I’d like to do it is, I’d like to echo something you’ve heard from our most senior executive leadership.
The president continued:
“While JK Rowling is the creator of Harry Potter, and we are bringing that to life with the power of Portkey, in many places, she’s a private citizen also. And that means she’s entitled to express her personal opinion on social media. I may not agree with her, and I might not agree with her stance on a range of topics, but I can agree that she has the right to hold her opinions.”
As spinless corporate non-responses go, Haddad certainly hit the mark, something that onlookers and Harry Potter fans were quick to pick up on, as the responses below Schreier’s original tweet illustrate.
In a subsequent tweet, the Bloomberg report noted that Haddad responded to a further question about diversity and inclusion. The president said that the publisher is partnering with LGBTQ rights groups.
While it’s unclear why this rather more reasoned and helpful stance didn’t surface when the author was directly mentioned is unclear, but there’s a sense WB Games is in full damage limitation mode, juggling the concerns of fans and safeguarding the coveted Harry Potter license.