In an interview Saturday as part of Graham Norton’s Radio Show Podcast, which airs on Virgin Radio UK, the Harry Potter author and Fantastic Beasts writer clarified her absence beyond archival footage in Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts.
Rowling noted, in a clip of the podcast, that despite speculation, she was asked to participate in the reunion and that “no one said don’t come.”
“Yeah, I was asked to be on that and I decided I didn’t want to do it,” she said. “I thought it was about the films more than the books, you know, quite rightly. I mean, that was what the anniversary was about.”
Following news that Rowling wasn’t going to appear alongside the film’s cast and other creative team members as part of the retrospective marking the Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone release, it was speculated that her absence may be due to controversy around the Harry Potter and the Curse Child story writer’s comments about transgender people. Those comments have been condemned by a number of LGBTQ+ rights groups, including GLAAD, the Human Rights Coalition and The Trevor Project.
Rowling herself had not previously commented on her absence from the special, but sources told Entertainment Weekly that her team believed the author’s archived comments which were shown in the reunion “were adequate.” They also denied that Rowling’s comments about the trans community played a part in her decision to not appear.
Ahead of the reunion, various members of the cast had already commented on the Harry Potter author’s public stances, with stars Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint and Eddie Redmayne among those who have made statements in support of the trans community. Other actors, like Ralph Fiennes and Robbie Coltrane, have come out with statements in support of Rowling.
During the brief interview, the author was also asked whether she still has a relationship with and talks to the movie franchise’s “young cast,” including those who have “spoken out about you,” according to Graham.
“I have. Yes, I do,” Rowling said. “I mean, some more than others, but that was always the case. You know some I knew better than others.”