Within a span of a few hours, author JK Rowling was allegedly accused of anti-Semitism and also exonerated from the same. The controversy began when a clip of a podcast ‘The Problem with Jon Stewart’ started doing rounds in which the host Jon Stewart drew parallels between Jews and the goblins who run the Gringotts bank in Harry Potter books. He said that the goblins resembled caricatures of Jews from ‘The Protocols of the Elders of Zion’, an anti-Semitic text in which the community is seen thriving for world domination. He said that he was surprised when audiences did not see the resemblance between the goblins and the caricatures. The clip soon trended on Twitter with the headline: “Jon Stewart accuses JK Rowling of anti-Semitism.” Here is the clip:
However, Jon, who is Jewish, soon released a clarification video on Twitter saying that he did not accuse JK Rowling of anti-Semitism as suggested by some publications. “There is no reasonable person that could have watched it and not seen it as a lighthearted conversation amongst colleagues and chums. Having a laugh, enjoying ourselves about Harry Potter and my experience watching for the first time in the theatre as a Jewish guy and how some tropes are so embedded in society that they’re basically invisible even in a considered process like movie-making,” said Jon in the clip. He added that he enjoyed the movies made on the books a lot, ‘a little too much for a man of his considerable age.’ He added that the conversation was taken out of context and he did not want the movies to be censored in any way. Watch the clip here:
According to Harry Potter Wiki, Goblins were a highly intelligent race of small magical humanoid beings with long fingers and feet that coexisted with the wizarding world. Their diet consisted of meat, roots, and fungi. Goblins conversed in a language known as Gobbledegook, and were adept metalsmiths notable for their silverwork; they even minted coins for wizarding currency. Due to their skills with money and finances, they controlled the wizarding economy to a large extent and ran Gringotts Wizarding Bank.
JK Rowling has been embroiled in a series of controversies till now, especially for her remarks on the transgender community. She was criticised for her views and was called a ‘trans-exclusionary radical feminist’ (TERF). The comments created a furore and even the stars of the series, Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson, distanced themselves from the creator of the franchise. She was also excluded from ‘Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return To Hogwarts’ streamed on HBO.