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Stephen Fry on JK Rowling: ‘She’s a friend and will remain a friend’

"But I'm also sorry that people are upset," says Fry, adding: "I don't have to break links with JK Rowling to say that I have huge sympathy [for trans people]"

By Jamie Tabberer

Words: Jamie Tabberer; picture: Stephen Fry in It’s A Sin (Channel 4)

Stephen Fry has confirmed he is still friends with Harry Potter author JK Rowling, who has generated headlines in recent years with her views on sex and gender.

The Wilde actor discussed Rowling on the Jordan B Peterson Podcast, uploaded to YouTube on Monday, saying: “She’s a friend and will remain a friend.”

The It’s A Sin star’s comments follow his work narrating the audiobook of Rowling’s fairytale The Ickabog last year.

“I’m also sorry that people are upset”

During a wide-ranging discussion, Peterson, a professor of psychology, brought up Rowling and said to Fry: “I know this is bothering you, what’s happening in the broader public landscape. You’ve got tangled up, for example, with JK Rowling, with what’s happening around her.”

To this, Fry responds: “Yes. She’s a friend and will remain a friend. But I’m also sorry that people are upset.”

“You know, the two things are not incompatible,” he added. “I don’t have to break links with JK Rowling to say that I have huge sympathy and I endorse the efforts of trans people everywhere to live the lives that they feel they want to lead. And I hate how they are often treated. I recognise the courage it takes.”

Elsewhere in the podcast, Fry said: “I do think that [debate] is the last, best hope for our society. […] The West being able to stand up to the pressures put upon it by China, and Russia, and other countries that are less interested in liberality. […] If we continue to fracture, and we continue to find enemies amongst our own kind, then really, it’s very, very sad. I’m hardly the first person to say this.”

“Huge numbers of women are justifiably terrified by the trans activists”

In a June 2020 tweet, Rowling said of ‘people who menstruate’: “I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?”

In an essay published on her personal website that same month, she wrote: “Huge numbers of women are justifiably terrified by the trans activists; I know this because so many have got in touch with me to tell their stories. They’re afraid of doxxing, of losing their jobs or their livelihoods, and of violence.

“But endlessly unpleasant as its constant targeting of me has been, I refuse 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.”

Fry was not available for further comment when contacted by Attitude today.