Tom Felton, the English actor best known for playing Draco Malfoy in the Harry Potter film series, got himself into controversy in June 2020 after allegedly liking a tweet by J.K. Rowling.
“I just got a call from one of my best friends. Butch lesbian who self-identifies as such. Because she was shouting so loudly, it was difficult to tell, but I could just make out ‘[expletive] YES!'” Rowling’s tweet was as follows:
The author’s tweet was a retweet of her previous transphobic statement, which stated,
There is no [same-gender] attraction if [physical intimacy] isn’t genuine. If [physical intimacy] isn’t real, women’s lived realities around the world are obliterated.
I know and respect trans individuals, but removing the concept of [intimacy] takes away many people’s ability to have meaningful conversations about their lives. Speaking the truth isn’t hate.
Many Twitter users were quick to notice Felton’s alleged liking of the contentious message and blasted him with charges of transphobia.
One of them accused the actor of being transphobic right away, writing, “Tom liked one of j.k. rowling’s many transphobic tweets, which she sent out on June 6th, 2020. When people accused him of transphobia [sic], he instantly disliked the tweet.”
Is Tom Felton transphobic, then?
While many people slammed Felton on the internet, some admirers backed him, claiming he explained why he liked the tweet on Instagram Live. “When Tom went live, he said he liked JK Rowling’s tweet without reading it and apologized [sic],” a fan commented.
The actor claimed that he was not transphobic and that he had erroneously liked Rowling’s post. But Felton’s admirers didn’t stop there, going above and beyond to show that the actor was a supporter of the LGBTQ+ community.
The actor’s TikTok fan account shared a video with a collection of screenshots of Felton sticking out for the trans community on various events and venues.
The Transgender Community and J.K. Rowling’s Controversial Tweets
Felton, it turns out, received all of the backlashes and was labeled as transphobic just because he liked one of the author’s numerous infamous transphobic tweets by accident.
Rowling has been chastised for a series of divisive tweets about the transgender community. It began when she retweeted an opinion piece on “those who menstruate,” inquiring why the word “women” was not used.
“‘Menstruating women.’ I’m sure there was a term for them back in the day. Someone, please assist me. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?” she sent out a tweet
The LGBTQ+ community and allies reacted angrily to the tweet. But that didn’t stop the author from sharing her opinions with the rest of the world. She then went on to tweet a long list of things she liked and disliked about trans persons.
She also wrote a lengthy essay on her website and tweeted “TERF Wars,” an acronym for a trans-exclusionary radical feminist, a few days later.
However, many people did not believe her, and actors such as Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, and Eddie Redmayne spoke out against her.