Ralph Fiennes is questioning if critics of J.K. Rowling have gone too far.
In an interview with The Telegraph published Wednesday, March 17, the English actor, who portrayed the villain Voldemort in the Harry Potter movie franchise, spoke about the controversy surrounding the writer after she repeatedly offended members of the transgender community last summer.
Fiennes said, "I can't understand the vitriol directed at her."
"I can understand the heat of an argument, but I find this age of accusation and the need to condemn irrational," he continued. "I find the level of hatred that people express about views that differ from theirs, and the violence of language towards others, disturbing."
The actor added that he believes "we need to have those voices that risk being offensive," explaining the world needs art that "could shake the scenery, that could get inside us and make us angry and turn us on."
He said, "I would hate a world where the freedom of that kind of voice is stifled."
Rowling has offended the transgender community on multiple occasions, even after multiple celebrities and activists offered insight into why her remarks are damaging.
In December 2019, Jameela Jamil attempted to explain to Rowling the difference between sexual identity and gender. The Good Place actress tweeted to Rowling, "Please follow more trans people, please read about their experiences in this world and know you are contributing to their erasure, abuse and suffering by supporting those who deny their identity/existence. Please wield your immense power to protect those most at risk."
Last summer, the 55-year-old British author ignited further backlash when she criticized an article titled "Creating a More Equal Post-COVID-19 World for People Who Menstruate," tweeting, "I'm sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?"
Survivor's Zeke Smith replied to the author, "Hi! I'm a man! I menstruate! Stop being an a--hole!"
Rowling doubled down on her comments and said that transgender people invalidate the experience of women, explaining, "If sex isn't real, there's no same-sex attraction. If sex isn't real, the lived reality of women globally is erased. I know and love trans people, but erasing the concept of sex removes the ability of many to meaningfully discuss their lives. It isn't hate to speak the truth."
The following month, Rowling compared the transition process to "conversion therapy," writing on Twitter, "Many, myself included, believe we are watching a new kind of conversion therapy for young gay people, who are being set on a lifelong path of medicalization that may result in the loss of their fertility and/or full sexual function."
Following those remarks, the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights organization president Kerry Kennedy spoke out against Rowling, who was a previous recipient of the Ripple of Hope award. Kennedy said in a statement that the author's "attacks upon the transgender community are inconsistent with the fundamental beliefs and values of RFK Human Rights and represent a repudiation of my father's vision."
Rowling returned the honor to the organization in protest.
Similarly, Harry Potter actor Daniel Radcliffe disavowed the author, writing in a blog for The Trevor Project, "Transgender women are women... Any statement to the contrary erases the identity and dignity of transgender people and goes against all advice given by professional health care associations who have far more expertise on this subject matter than either Jo or I."