The upcoming open-world Harry Potter game Hogwarts Legacy has been subject to intense debate ever since it was announced, with the gaming community fiercely divided on whether to buy the game, or boycott.
The Harry Potter franchise has been cursed with controversy ever since its creator, writer J.K. Rowling, came out as a TERF (trans-exclusionary radical feminist), and began speaking out against trans rights in the UK.
TERFs are notorious for spending a concerning amount of time talking about toilets, and who gets to sit on them, the shape of stranger’s genitals, chromosomes, and raging against preferred pronouns (they must be fun at parties).
While Rowling was initially cautious of expressing her views on Twitter, she eventually became more outspoken, and increasingly defensive against critics, eventually writing a book, The Ink Black Heart, about a YouTuber hounded and doxxed by social justice-obsessed Twitter trolls.
“Jo canceled me. She sorta blocked me and all that. Here’s the thing: She is welcome to her opinion. That’s the way that the world works. If she thinks that trans women are dangerous, or that trans women are somehow not women, or whatever problem she has with it—the idea that someone “masquerading” as a woman is going to assault a “real” woman in the toilet—if she believes all those things, she has a right to her opinion. And then someone tweeted at me, “Do you think trans women are women?” and I said, “Yes, I do.” And that’s what she got angry about—my opinion.”
Rowling recently lashed out at trans YouTuber Jessie Earl (known as JessieGender), after Earl urged gamers not to buy Hogwarts Legacy. Rowling compared Earl’s comment to book burning and “purethink.”
Earl later released a statement urging the LGBTQ community to stand united against bigotry.
“Rowling wants to divide us into us versus them because she has so fallen down a pipeline of hate that frames trans people, already a deeply vilified and marginalized community and yet one that is so filled with strength and joy, as the enemy, which we aren’t,” Earl wrote.
“So I just remind you that TERFs are harmful and awful; and that trans rights and liberation can only exist in a world that is equal for everyone. Our fight is everyone’s fight and we stand together. Love you all my friends.”
The concern is that Rowling, an exceedingly wealthy and influential figure, is using her platform to spread hatred against trans people, and is being emboldened by the success of her franchise.
While Harry Potter remains phenomenally popular, beloved by children and adults around the world, many fans have since distanced themselves from the wizarding world, with Rowling’s views having killed the magic.
Hence, the gaming community is split between people who are actively boycotting the game, and those who plan on buying it. Rowling certainly isn’t the world’s first disappointing author, but she is still earning money from the game’s license (although, the creators of the game stressed that Rowling was not involved in its production, and have ensured that players can choose to play as a transgender character).