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J.K. Rowling Addresses Her Absence from Harry Potter Reunion Special: 'I Didn't Want to Do It'

People 8/28/2022 Shafiq Najib

Ben Pruchnie/Getty J.K. Rowling © Provided by People Ben Pruchnie/Getty J.K. Rowling

J.K. Rowling is addressing her absence from the Harry Potter reunion. 

During her appearance on Virgin Radio Saturday, the author explained why she wasn't featured in the Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts, which debuted Jan. 1 on HBO Max.

"I was asked to be on that, and I decided I didn't want to do it," she told the host, Graham Norton, via a clip uploaded to YouTube. "I thought it was about the films more than the books, quite rightly. That was what the anniversary was about."

"No one said don't [do it]...I was asked to do it and I decided not to," she added. 

J. K. Rowling wearing a blue shirt: Bruce Glikas/FilmMagic J.K. Rowling © Provided by People Bruce Glikas/FilmMagic J.K. Rowling

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Elsewhere in the conversation, Rowling, 57, also discussed her relationship with social media. Earlier this month, she received a death threat after expressing her concern about Salman Rushdie's stabbing incident.  

"I try to behave online as I would like others to behave... I've never threatened anyone," she told Graham during the interview. "I certainly wouldn't want anyone to go to their houses or anything like that."

"Social media can be a lot of fun, and I do like the pub argument aspect of it. That can be a fun thing to do…," she continued. "I sort of have a love-hate relationship with it now. I can happily go for a few days without getting into a [virtual] pub brawl."

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Rowling came under fire in June 2020 when she appeared to support anti-transgender sentiments in a series of tweets. Though she denied that her views on feminism are transphobic, she doubled down on her controversial standpoints in a lengthy essay shared on her website days later.

Harry Potter stars Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint each spoke out against Rowling's much-criticized remarks regarding the transgender community.

Radcliffe, 33, wrote in an essay for The Trevor Project that "transgender women are women."

"Any statement to the contrary erases the identity and dignity of transgender people and goes against all advice given by professional health care associations, who have far more expertise on this subject matter than either Jo or I," Radcliffe wrote at the time.

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"According to The Trevor Project, 78 percent of transgender and nonbinary youth reported being the subject of discrimination due to their gender identity," he added. "It's clear that we need to do more to support transgender and nonbinary people, not invalidate their identities, and not cause further harm."

RELATED: Daniel Radcliffe Says He's 'Deeply Sorry for the Pain' Caused by J.K. Rowling's Tweets on Gender Identity

Responding to backlash in June 2020, Rowling wrote that she refuses to "bow down to a movement that I believe is doing demonstrable harm in seeking to erode 'woman' as a political and biological class and offering cover to predators like few before it."

Actor Ralph Fiennes, who played Lord Voldemort in the Potter franchise, told the U.K.'s The Telegraph back in March 2021 that he personally feels the "level of hatred" aimed at Rowling is uncalled for.

"I can't understand the vitriol directed at her. I can understand the heat of an argument, but I find this age of accusation and the need to condemn irrational," said Fiennes at the time. "I find the level of hatred that people express about views that differ from theirs, and the violence of language towards others, disturbing."

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