“It’s people like you who make the world a worse place.”
It was one of the more muted responses Maysa Pritilata received as she encouraged people not to buy the upcoming video game Hogwarts Legacy.
When it launches this week, it’s widely expected to be one of the biggest games of the year so far, giving players the chance to be their own witch or wizard JK Rowlingfantasy world.
It’s the first major new product launch in over a decade harry potter game.This is also from Rowling on transgender Rights became the subject of public debate.
Search the game online and you won’t have to look far to find antithesis in excitement; a Twitter video encouraging people to boycott has more than 9 million views; game forum ResetEra has banned mention of the game; major website GameSpot published an article about Rowling’s ‘anti-trans stance’ article; and a fundraiser calling on people to donate to trans charities instead of buying games has raised over £6,000.
For Maysa, a trans woman whose writing for openDemocracy about the legacy of Hogwarts brought vitriolic criticism to her inbox, the decision to boycott was made easy.
“I love video gamesshe says.
“I’m not boycotting it because I think my money would seriously damage publishers, Warner Bros. or Rowling.
“But why would I do it to myself? Why would I do it to other people, who would think I’m validating the game?”
Trans fans ‘found solace’ in Potter
Since writing her stance, Maysa’s inbox has been filled with abusive messages from people excited about the game and supporting Rowling.
But not everyone hurt by Rowling’s views is so easily dismissing her most famous work.
“As fans, we’ve been looking forward to this game even before it was announced,” said transgender Potter fan Asher Chelder, who admits he has a “complicated” relationship with the franchise.
“I find a lot of comfort in this series, it’s something I can’t shake. It’s a part of who I am.”
Asher is part of the social media team at Potter fan site MuggleNet, and he’s certainly not alone in his excitement.
But while many of those who booked were purely out of anticipation, others said they did so to defy the boycott or show support for Rowling.
Asher said he was once one of “a lot of LGBTQ people who looked up to Rowling” and their views are now “really hurting people”.
author widely regarded as a defender of women’s rightsbut has also come under increasing criticism for its stance on transgender issues, especially Since 2020including her views on single-sex spaces and Scotland’s gender recognition reform bill.
Rowling’s representatives denied being transphobic when contacted by Sky News, but declined to comment.
“This is an important moment”
In the U.S., Human Rights Watch warned that state politicians will file a record number of anti-LGBTQ bills in 2022, along with opposition to the Hogwarts legacy.
Game developer Brianna Wu received death threats during the 2014 Gamergate scandal – a misogynistic online campaign against women in the industry.
Former Hogwarts Legacy developer Troy Leavitt left the project in 2021 after he released a video defending the event. He said he resigned despite “the absolute security of my position”.
separate the art from the artist
Warners has confirmed that Rowling was not directly involved in the game’s creation, but stated on the game’s website’s FAQ page that they have “collaborated closely” with her team on the project.
Actor Sebastian Croft, who provides one of the voices players can choose for their character, claims he didn’t know her point of view when he accepted a role.he was like a potter movie star Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson Publicly disapprove of Rowling’s comments.
Publishers have previously been accused of trying to distance authors when promoting such projects Last year’s reunion special and Leavesden Studio Tourist Attractions.
The latter saw Sky News banned from asking Potter actor Tom Felton about Rowling at a media event. Warner later said it was “completely wrong”, praising Rowling as “one of the most accomplished storytellers in the world”.
“We are proud to be the studio that brings her vision, character and story to the present and for decades to come,” said a statement.
Warner did not respond to Sky News’ repeated requests for comment on the Hogwarts legacy.
PR tries to separate JK Rowling from Harry Potter
‘There’s no real way to erase her’
Asher and his colleagues at MuggleNet, the world’s oldest Potter fan site, which launched in 1999, grapple with this conundrum every day.
It now has a page outlining its contributions to transgender people, noting that Rowling’s views are “at odds with her book’s message of acceptance and empowerment”.
Creative director Kat Miller told Sky News: “We all know she created the world and there’s no real way to remove her from it – that’s not our aim.
“But … not only is her point of view annoying, but the fact that she doesn’t listen to those who keep telling her she’s doing harm.”
For Arthur, keeping Rowling away from her work made things easier. He still intends to play the game, but admits that “people might hate” him, and that some LGBTQ people might not understand his actions. One view, he said, is that they have every right to do so.
“I’m glad at least Rowling has parted with it as much as possible.”