Who would’ve thought the most universally beloved fantasy novel series would become deeply associated with transphobia years after its release? Well, in recent years, the author of Harry Potter, J.K. Rowling, has made many comments revealing herself as transphobic. The cast of the Harry Potter movies has had to respond to Rowling’s bigotry. One star, Tom Felton, (AKA Draco Malfoy for Harry Potter fans) took some flack for seemingly supporting the author’s polarizing opinions. So, are the rumors true? Is Tom Felton transphobic, or is it all just internet witchcraft?
The Transphobic Rumors
J.K. Rowling has made many tweets that put her controversial opinions on display. One tweet read, “If sex isn’t real, there’s no same-sex attraction. If sex isn’t real, the lived reality of women globally is erased. I know and love trans people, but erasing the concept of sex removes the ability of many to meaningfully discuss their lives. It isn’t hate to speak the truth.”
In response, a Twitter user implored Rowling to “talk to some queer people” to get some perspective from folks who are actually being affected by the issues she’s arguing about. Rowling tweeted a reply, saying, “One of my best mates just called me. Self-described butch lesbian. It was hard to tell because she was shouting quite loudly, but I could just make out ‘FUCKING YES!’”
Fans noticed that Tom Felton liked the tweet. This sparked the question: does he actually agree with her? Twitter blew up in response. One Twitter user wrote, ‘tom liked one of the many transphobic tweets from j.k. rowling, which was posted on june 6th, 2020. he quickly unliked the tweet when people started calling him out for transphobia,[sic]”
Felton went on Instagram live to address the rumors. He said that he liked the tweet in support of Rowling without actually reading what it said. He went on to explain that he “stand[s] up for love and acceptance” He continued, “I don’t condone any person’s behavior or choice of negative words to provoke or incite a secular divisive society anymore than [my dog] condones the mistreatment and horrendous conditions that some dogs and animals have to deal with.” He finished by saying that he will “strive to use [his] ears twice as much as [his] mouth.”
In response to the backlash of the possibly accidental like and abrupt unlike, folks wanted to know what was really behind the apparent about-face. In an interview with ET Canada, Felton was asked about his opinion on Rowling’s transphobic stance. He said, “I don’t have a reaction to that, I’m afraid.’ He went on to say he’s “not Mr. Social Affairs.” It’s understandable that he may want to stay out of drama and not speak about issues he’s not educated on. Even so, being more direct could definitely have helped put the rumors to rest.
Other Rumors About Tom Felton
The questions about Tom Felton’s character, unfortunately, didn’t stop there. Rumors of a wide array of inappropriate behavior have continued to swirl.
In 2019, Felton got in an entirely different kind of trouble. This time, there was some pretty damning evidence. The actor uploaded a video to his Instagram in which he sported a T-shirt featuring the Japanese Rising Sun flag. To those who don’t know the flag’s history, the T-shirt probably just looked like a bright, graphic print. But, for those who know its true meaning, it’s a lot deeper than that.
This flag differs from Japan’s primary flag because it represents violent, aggressive Japanese nationalism and hearkens back to WWII violence. Felton removed the video in question and issued an apology via Twitter. It said, “I sincerely apologise if my last Instagram video offended anyone. I had no idea the symbolic reference of the T-Shirt I was wearing. I am a lover, not a hater and I thoroughly regret buying it now knowing what it represents. My ignorance is no excuse but I’m deeply sorry x [sic]”
The following year, Tweets surfaced accusing Felton of grooming an underage girl. The news spread like wildfire, and Felton faced cancellation. Later, it came out that the accusations were fabricated and entirely fake. Fans responded on Twitter with an outpouring of support for Felton in the wake of this wildly false accusation. It’s safe to say that we all hope to hear fewer rumors and more good news about Tom Felton in the years to come.