Harry Potter star Tom Felton, who starred as Draco Malfoy, has praised author JK Rowling’s contribution to literature, but stopped short of sharing his thoughts on the criticism around past comments made by the author.
Rowling attracted a fierce backlash in 2020 after criticising an article which referred to ‘people who menstruate’.
Taking issue with the phrasing, the author – who denies she is transphobic – wrote on Twitter: ‘”People who menstruate”. I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?’
After she received further backlash following a series of tweets that also saw her defend her staunch belief in biological sex, several Harry Potter cast members – including Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint – allied with the trans community and distanced themselves from Rowling’s views at the time.
In speaking about Rowling this week, Felton – who played Draco Malfoy in the franchise – said he ‘doesn’t tend to pick sides’, and instead praised her work.
Felton has said he feels ‘no-one has single-handedly done more for bringing joy to so many different generations’ than Rowling.
Speaking to The Times’ T2 magazine, the actor said: ‘I couldn’t speak for what others have said or what she said, to be completely honest, but I’m often reminded, attending Comic Cons in particular, that no-one has single-handedly done more for bringing joy to so many different generations and walks of life.
‘I’m constantly reminded of her positive work in that field and as a person. I’ve only had a handful of meetings with her but she has always been lovely. So I’m very grateful for that.’
He continued: ‘I’m pro. I’m pro-choice. I’m pro-life. I’m pro-discussion. I’m pro-love. I don’t tend to pick sides.
‘I won’t talk specifics but I enjoy reminding myself and others that a lot of my good friends have ways of life or personal decisions that I don’t necessarily agree with.
‘We should enjoy celebrating each other’s differences.’
The 35-year-old actor, like many of his co-stars, joined the series as a child and grew up making the eight films over a 10-year period, ending in 2011.
He admitted that being attached to the fantasy world had not always been easy and he had been called the ‘broomstick prick for a while at secondary school’.
However, he feels it is the ‘gift that keeps on giving’ as it helped launch his career which includes featuring in 2011’s Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes and recurring roles in the TV series Murder In The First, The Flash and Origin.