The Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP) in Seattle, Washington, airbrushed all mentions of creator and author JK Rowling from their Harry Potter display in the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame because of her "problematic" beliefs.
A blog post from May titled "She who must not be named" explained the decision by calling Rowling a "certain cold, heartless, joy-sucking entity in the world of Harry Potter."
The writer of the post described themselves as a "transgender Harry Potter ex-fanatic" and claimed that Rowling's problematic views include "the support of antisemitic creators, the racial stereotypes that she used while creating characters, the incredibly white wizarding world, the fat shaming, the lack of LGBTQIA+ representation, the super-chill outlook on the bigotry and othering of those that don’t fit into the standard wizarding world, and so much more," but that "Her transphobic viewpoints are front and center these days."
In describing why they decided to keep Harry Potter items, the post says, "We wanted to give credit to the work of the actors, prop makers, and costume designers in our Fantasy gallery. We learned that You-Know-Who was a problem, which is why you’ll see the artifacts without any mention or image of the author." The author noted that the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame did not start with MoPOP and has other inductees with "questionable if not downright disturbing pasts."
They wrote that their decision is "for the time being, the Curators decided to remove any of her artifacts from this gallery to reduce her impact." The writer added, "It’s not a perfect solution, but it’s what we were able to do in the short-term while determining long-term practices. As we’ve continued to learn and grow, they’re planning on continuing to add context to creators and content through our blog and possibly in-gallery QR codes."
Rowling was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2018 before she began speaking out in defense of women. Her first post that went viral on the issue was in 2020 and took issue with the term "people who menstruate" being used to describe women.
In a follow-up, the author doubled down against the erasure of women."If sex isn’t real, there’s no same-sex attraction," she said. "If sex isn’t real, the lived reality of women globally is erased." She added, "I know and love trans people, but erasing the concept of sex removes the ability of many to meaningfully discuss their lives. It isn’t hate to speak the truth."
"The idea that women like me, who’ve been empathetic to trans people for decades, feeling kinship because they’re vulnerable in the same way as women - ie, to male violence," She continued, "I respect every trans person’s right to live any way that feels authentic and comfortable to them."
"I’d march with you if you were discriminated against on the basis of being trans. At the same time, my life has been shaped by being female. I do not believe it’s hateful to say so," she concluded.
Even with the show of support for the transgender community from the beginning, Rowling has battled the label of "transphobic" ever since.
Last summer, MoPOP set up a drag-themed summer camp for boys aged 12 to 18 years old to learn to create their own drag persona and appearance where they "explore hair and makeup techniques, and develop your character's stage presence."
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