Seattle’s Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP) has reportedly removed all references to bestselling author J.K. Rowling from their displays, accusing her of being hateful and divisive for expressing her criticisms of gender ideology.
According to pro-LGBT news outlet Pink News, a transgender employee at the museum published a blog post in May describing Rowling as “problematic” for her views on transgenderism. Also among the accusations lodged against the Harry Potter author, the employee said she supported anti-Semitic creators, racial stereotypes, fat shaming, and had failed to include LGBTQIA+ characters in her iconic book series.
In an apparent effort to prevent Rowling from getting publicity, the author, who is also the exhibitions project manager of the museum, refers to her as “You-Know-Who” in the post. After providing some history about Rowling’s “transphobic statements,” Chris Moore finishes the entry by outlining some of the things MoPOP is doing to combat her “hateful” views.
“If you’ve visited the museum recently,” Moore writes, “you will have seen artifacts from the Harry Potter films in Fantasy: Worlds of Myth and Magic gallery and her likeness in the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame. They’re there and trying to dance around it would make me look like a bigger hypocrite. But here’s the deal… it’s complicated.”
Continuing, Moore explains that the museum has had “long conversations” about “what to do with problematic people and content because instances like this are going to keep happening.” Adding that, “While the Harry Potter series is a major player in the pop culture sphere, 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.”
Moore’s post also points out that while Rowling was inducted into the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame by public vote in 2018 before she “became the face of trans-exclusionary radical feminism (TERF),” the curators have removed artifacts related to Rowling to “reduce her impact.”
Pointing to other allegedly problematic individuals honored in the Hall of Fame, Moore vows that the museum will continue to learn and adopt ways to provide context to creators through the museum’s blog and in-gallery QR codes.
“Of course, the work for diversity, equity, inclusion, (DEIA) and accessibility is a practice. It’s why you’re seeing more signage in our galleries around harmful language and hateful, abusive, and divisive creators, why we have ongoing conversations and trainings on all kinds of DEIA considerations, and also why I felt safe enough to change my pronouns and start transitioning 4 years ago,” she said.
Finishing, Moore expounds that DEIA is “something that we take seriously, and we’ll always be striving for improvement. We’re not perfect in this practice, but that’s why it’s called practice.”
J.K. Rowling first came under fire in 2017 for liking a post on X (formerly Twitter) from a now-deleted Medium article describing a trans-identified male in a female space as “a stranger with a penis,” Vox reports.
Since then, she has become more vocal about her views, and, in 2020, faced backlash from LGBT allies for reposting an article describing women as “people who menstruate.”
With a humorous tone, Rowling wrote: “’People who menstruate.’ I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?”
While she has lost support from multiple Harry Potter actors, such as Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint, Rowling has since received an overflow of support from many loyal fans and women’s rights advocates.
On an episode of The Witch Trials of J.K. Rowling, an audio documentary hosted by Megan Phelps-Roper, Rowling asserted that her fans have stood by her, many of whom are grateful to her for being outspoken about protecting female-only spaces.
“I have to tell you, a ton of Potter fans were still with me,” she said. “And in fact, a ton of Potter fans were grateful that I’d said what I said.”