'I'm Here for All the Witches': Emma Watson Appears to Take Aim at JK Rowling Over Transgender Row

© AFP 2023 / TOLGA AKMENBritish actress Emma Watson poses on the red carpet upon arrival at the BAFTA British Academy Film Awards at the Royal Albert Hall, in London, on March 13, 2022.
British actress Emma Watson poses on the red carpet upon arrival at the BAFTA British Academy Film Awards at the Royal Albert Hall, in London, on March 13, 2022.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 14.03.2022
JK Rowling has been under fire for her controversial views on transgender people. Recently she was criticised for a tweet about International Women’s Day in a thread targeting the UK Labour Party’s stance on gender and equality, where the Harry Potter novelist wrote that under a Labour government, “today will become We Who Must Not Be Named Day.”
Emma Watson has been both praised and criticized for the subtle dig she appeared to take at JK Rowling as she presented the award of Best Outstanding British Film at this year's BAFTA Film Awards on Sunday.
The actress best known for her role as Hermione Grainger in film adaptations of Rowling's books was introduced by host Rebel Wilson, who said:
“Here to present the next award is Emma Watson. She calls herself a feminist, but we all know she's a witch.”
In response, Watson quipped: “I'm here for ALL the witches!”
Many viewers homed in on the jibe, praising Watson for “throwing subtle shade at JK Rowling”, long under fire for her stance on trans rights and accused of "transphobia."
Social media users went on Twitter to applaud “Queen” Watson for “destroying JK.”
Earlier in the ceremony, Rebel Wilson took aim at the acclaimed author while joking about her recent weight loss. As she referred to a picture of herself at the 2020 ceremony, shown on screen, she said:
“That was me two years ago and since then I've done quite a transformation – I hope JK Rowling still approves.”
However, not everyone echoed Watson’s stance. Many viewers took the opportunity to slam both her and Rebel Wilson for what they saw as “bowing to the woke mob”.
Some pointed out that Watson, made famous by her role in the film adaptations of Rowling's books, should “count her lucky stars JK Rowling stuck with her.”
Viewers suggested that Emma Watson ought to “stop biting the hand that feeds.”
Controversy around JK Rowling’s position on transgender issues has been gaining traction for quite some time. Rowling was accused of "transphobia" by activists and members of the LGBTQ + community after publishing an essay on her website in July 2020, where she argued that biological sex was real.
She had also liked a post on Twitter that referred to trans women as “men in dresses".
More recently, Rowling criticised Britain’s Labour Leader Keir Starmer, accusing him of "misrepresenting" the Equality Act after he said in an interview for The Times in an interview that "trans women are women", citing the Equality Act of 2010.
J.K. Rowling arrives at the 2019 RFK Ripple of Hope Awards at New York Hilton Midtown on December 12, 2019 in New York City - Sputnik International, 1920, 13.03.2022
Trans Rights Row: J.K. Rowling Slams Labour Leader Starmer for 'Misrepresenting' Equality Act
Rowling tweeted to claim the Labour Party could not be “counted on to defend women’s rights.” She also added that “women are organising across party lines, and their resolve and their anger are growing."
Passed in 2010, the Equality Act boasts a provision that greenlights "changing the definition of gender reassignment, by removing the requirement for medical supervision". The legislation is ostensibly aimed at providing legal protection "from discrimination in the workplace and in wider society".
However, the reform has drawn criticism from activists, particularly feminists, who voiced concerns that the bill would effectively limit the amount of women-only spaces - like hospital wards, restrooms, and changing rooms.
Rowling has also denounced a law proposed by Nicola Sturgeon in Scotland - the Gender Recognition Reform Bill seeking to simplify how trans people’s genders are recognised - claiming it will “harm the most vulnerable women” if passed.
JK Rowling earlier in 2021 revealed that besides open criticism, her stance on the issue has resulted in her receiving “so many death threats I could paper the house with them and I haven't stopped speaking out.”
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