J.K. Rowling is setting the record straight about why she didn’t take part in HBO Max’s Harry Potter New Year’s Day reunion special . Marking 20 years since the first film adaptation of Rowling’s books about the boy wizard hit theaters, Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts featured franchise stars Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson, though Rowling herself only appeared via old interview footage.
While it was speculated that the British author had been left out of the special due to outcry over her controversial remarks on trans women — views that Radcliffe, Grint and Watson have publicly made plain they don’t share — Rowling reveals in a new interview that she was the one to decline the opportunity.
Speaking to Graham Norton on Virgin Radio in the U.K. on Saturday, the writer shared that she opted out because the special was focused on the films rather than the book series that inspired them.
“I was asked to be on that, and I decided I didn’t want to do it,” she told Norton. “I thought it was about the films more than the books, quite rightly. That was what the anniversary was about.
“No one said ‘don’t come,’” she clarified. “I was asked to do it and I decided not to.”
When asked if she still remains in touch with the Harry Potter actors, including those who have expressed disapproval of her comments about sex and gender, Rowling said, “Yes — some more than others.” She noted that she had always been closer to certain stars, but did not name anyone specifically.
She also addressed social media, where her tweets have stirred up heated debate in recent years. Rowling has also been vocal about receiving online threats, including one recently warning her that she would be “next” after she shared her dismay at author Salman Rushdie’s stabbing.
“I try to behave online as I would like others to behave,” she told Norton. “I’ve never threatened anyone, obviously. I certainly wouldn’t want anyone to go to their houses or anything like that.”
Rowling shared that she has a “love-hate relationship” with social media. It can be “fun” at times, but while she appreciates the “pub argument aspect” of it, the author noted that “there’s no doubt that social media is a gift for people who want to behave in a malign way.”
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