JK Rowling defended by author for open letter on free speech

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Jon Stewart, 59, has made it very clear that he never accused Harry Potter creator JK Rowling of portraying the Gringott’s Bank goblins as “antisemitic” in the popular magical film franchise. The former Daily Show host, who is Jewish, made comparisons between the goblins in the films to that of antisemitic illustrations featured in the 1903 book The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

I cannot stress this enough: I am not accusing JK Rowling of being antisemitic

Jon Stewart

His comments came over a month ago, but the presenter has been forced to clarify his remarks after receiving backlash.

In what he has now called a “light-hearted conversation between colleagues and chums”, he had said: “Have you ever seen a Harry Potter movie? Have you ever seen the scenes in Gringotts Bank?

“Do you know what those folks that run the bank are? Jews!

“And they’re like, ‘Oh, [that illustration is] from Harry Potter!’ And you’re like, ‘No, that’s a caricature of a Jew from an anti-Semitic piece of literature!’

“JK Rowling was like, ‘Can we get these guys to run our bank?’ You’re like, ‘It’s a wizarding world… We can ride dragons, you can have a pet owl, but who should run the bank? Jews. But what if the teeth were sharper?'”

Now, in a new video shared to Twitter, Stewart was stunned that his comments had been taken as anything but in jest and made it clear that he does not believe Rowling is antisemitic.

“These comments were made a month ago – a month ago!” he exclaimed, seemingly bewildered at the fallout of his previous discussion.

“I cannot stress this enough: I am not accusing JK Rowling of being antisemitic.

“She need not answer to any of it. I don’t want the Harry Potter movies censored in any way.”

He added: “I really love the Harry Potter movies!”

Stewart also went on to condemn the media’s reporting of what he said, focusing on one in particular – the Newsweek headline, which read: “Jon Stewart Accuses JK Rowling of Antisemitism in Harry Potter.”

In response, his latest video was titled: “Newsweek et al, may eat my a**.”

He continued to say the video: “And now all the s***heads pile into this ridiculously out of context nonsense that you put out there. Get a f***ing grip!”

But Stewart isn’t the first person to make a connection between the two.

In 2020 Saturday Night Live star Pete Davidson, brought attention to the characters in Rowling’s books, criticising the author for putting “little giant-nosed Jew goblins” in charge of the wizarding bank.

“And I can say that because, as you can see, I’m half-goblin,” the comedian joked.

Before Stewart shared his denial post, the Campaign Against Antisemitism had quickly come to Rowling’s defence.

They had stated: “The portrayal of the goblins in the Harry Potter series is of a piece with their portrayal in Western literature as a whole”.

They also branded Rowling a “tireless defender of the Jewish community in its fight against antisemitism’.

In 2018, the writer was labelled “one of the staunchest allies of the Jews” by the Jewish feminist publication Hey Alma, after she began publically identifying antisemitism online amid rising intolerance in the UK.

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