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Lionel Shriver says watching Harry Potter actors speaking out against JK Rowling is ‘hideous’

Lionel Shriver has shared her views on Harry Potter actors speaking out against JK Rowling’s stance on transgender issues.

Rowling, 58, has stoked much debate in recent years due to her comments about gender identity.

The author of the globally beloved wizard novels recently taunted Scottish police, daring them to arrest her after Scotland introduced new anti-hate crime legislation.

In a new Telegraph interview, American writer Shriver, 66, spoke out on the gulf between Rowling and the stars of the films inspired by her books.

While discussing ideas of free speech, the We Need to Talk About Kevin author criticised “the personal disloyalty between individuals who maybe go back decades”.

She then contextualised her view in terms of the Harry Potter cast and JK Rowling. Notably, film series star Daniel Radcliffe published an open letter in 2020 in which he proclaimed that “transgender women are women”.

Elsewhere, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson, who played Harry’s best friends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger in the franchise, have also publicly opposed Rowling’s views.

“It’s been really hideous to watch,” Shriver said of the film’s stars expressing their distaste for Rowling’s views. “It’s almost always someone to the Left disavowing someone who’s a little bit to the Right.”

Lionel Shriver and JK Rowling (Getty)
Lionel Shriver and JK Rowling (Getty)

Shriver has personal experience with this scenario; a friend of over a decade distanced herself from the author following her appearance on Question Time in 2019, during which Shriver questioned “mass immigration” and defended Boris Johnson’s comments that likened hijab-wearing Muslim women to letterboxes.

The author said: “There was one person in particular who ended our friendship… for purely political reasons. We’d been friends for 13 years, and then suddenly she couldn’t. I always thought there was an undercurrent of she couldn’t afford to be associated with me.”

Elsewhere in the interview, published on Wednesday (3 April), Shriver dismissed diversity, equality and inclusion initiatives and claimed that men are disadvantaged because of them.

Lionel Shriver in 2017 (Getty)
Lionel Shriver in 2017 (Getty)

“Right now, being male, I would say, is on a career level, a disadvantage… because of the DEI business [diversity, equality and inclusion], which has been going on for a long time,” she explained.

Shriver then added that she was “very hostile to all this equality legislation” and claimed that “racism shouldn’t be against the law” as it denies people of their right to have “conceptions and sometimes misconceptions of groups of people”.

“This hate speech legislation is evil. It’s about controlling what you can and can’t say,” she claimed. “I’m willing to make the sacrifice of living in a world where people are not always nice, because that’s the real world.”

“You know, racism shouldn’t be against the law, as an internal state,” Shriver added.

“We all have our conceptions and sometimes misconceptions of groups of people. And we have a right to that. We are now well on our way to criminalising internal states.”

The Independent has reached out to a representative of Lionel Shriver for further comment.