Rowling’s claims lack action

Kassidy Crown

Patterns of catering disappoint

 

Last week I wrote on David Yates’ (director of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald) statements that Dumbledore would not be “explicitly gay” in the movie.
That discussion ultimately has roots in a broader conversation about the intents behind the representation and Rowling’s proclaimed feminist nature.
While promoting “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” in 2007, Rowling was asked by a fan if Dumbledore ever found love. Her response was that she “always imagined Dumbledore as gay”.
She went on to briefly detail Dumbledore’s great love of Grindelwald and how he was let down by him when he discovered that he had been drawn to the dark arts.
According to The Guardian, Rowling said that “Yeah, that’s how I always saw Dumbledore.
In fact, recently I was in a script read-through for the sixth film, and they had Dumbledore saying a line to Harry early in the script saying, ‘I knew a girl once, whose hair…’ I had to write a little note in the margin and slide it along to the scriptwriter, ‘Dumbledore’s gay!’”
All of these responses do not seem to be coming from someone who is honestly proclaiming a character as gay. In fact, she only really says that she imagined Dumbledore as gay.
These claims seem to fall back in the light of Dumbledore’s obvious reserved nature in the Harry Potter books, as well as the news of Dumbledore’s sexuality not being discussed in a movie that is about, in part, his backstory with Grindelwald.

Rowling’s promises seem to be half-hearted in other areas, as well.

A self-proclaimed feminist, Rowling, who is involved with writing the scripts and the movie production overall, has Grindelwald being played by Johnny Depp.

In 2017, Depp found himself in the news for ex-wife Amber Heard’s domestic violence allegations. This issue was eventually solved outside of court, but society’s outrage for these claims was minimal at best.

What got more attention was Depp’s “jokes” about movie stars assassinating presidents, and that maybe it is time for another actor to assassinate a president.

With these two skeletons haunting Depp, and in light with the recent #MeToo movement, one would expect Depp’s career to be over, and yet Rowling has snagged him for the leading villain role for the “Fantastic Beasts” franchise.

This coming from a “feminist” is greatly disturbing. Rowling’s claims of feminism and increased representation are not reflected in her books or her movies.

Her feminism and Dumbledore-as-gay comments seem more to be appeasing than truthful; they are something thrown out for a fanbase as eye-candy or band aids over a gaping wound of society’s change.

However, they don’t hold merit when light is shone on them – A feminist hiring a man who, according to a Vox article quoting Depp himself, “lie[s] for a living” and has had past domestic violence allegations against him, and a representation comment that has not seen the light of day shows Rowling as someone who is trying to get on the proverbial “hype train.”

Rowling is more interested in catering towards her fanbase than actually delivering on these statements, which is an unfortunate blow to those seeking representation and role models.

These patterns from a woman who is a childhood role model for many who grew up with the Harry Potter books is a low blow to fans who look to her for guidance and acceptance.