If you’ve been anywhere near the internet in the last 12 hours, you’ll have no doubt heard that Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling is in hot water. Following an employment tribunal ruling against a woman who was found to have expressed transphobic views that created “an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment,” Rowling tweeted in her defense.
She said: “Dress however you please. Call yourself whatever you like. Sleep with any consenting adult who’ll have you. Live your best life in peace and security. But force women out of their jobs for stating that sex is real?” It’s a statement that echoes the very worst of anti-trans campaigners online, who regularly harass trans people with abuse. The statement was greeted with dismay by Harry Potter fans, too, who had assumed that Rowling was on their side.
This has created quite the furore online, with J.K. Rowling becoming one of the most discussed subjects on Twitter worldwide. But another icon from a different fantasy franchise found himself sucked in as well: Star Wars‘ Mark Hamill. He liked Rowling’s tweet at first, but has now apologized to fans for not reading it carefully and understanding the implications of what she was saying.
Ignorance is no excuse, but I liked the tweet without understanding what the last line or hashtags meant. It was the 1st 4 lines I liked & I didn't realize it had any transphobic connotation. https://t.co/vefcuZEQF9
— Mark HoHoHoHamill (@HamillHimself) December 20, 2019
Fortunately for Mark Hamill – who’s reliably one of the nicer celebrities on Twitter – his fans have taken his apology at face value. The general sentiment in the replies appears to be relief that he doesn’t endorse transphobia. That’s probably for the best, too, because while the internet is right in the process of cancelling J.K. Rowling, it’d have been way too much work to cancel Mark Hamill as well on the same day, especially with Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker hitting cinemas this weekend.
Just so everyone has this straight, though: J.K. Rowling – now bad. Mark Hamill – still good.