Movies | January 18, 2022 11:22 am

Rupert Grint Says J.K. Rowling Is Like a Problematic “Auntie”

"I don’t necessarily agree with everything my auntie says, but she’s still my auntie."

British author JK Rowling (2nd R) and producer David Hayman (L) pose for photographers with British actress Emma Watson (2nd L) and British actor Rupert Grint (R) after receiving their British Academy of Film Award (BAFTA) for 'Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema: Harry Potter' at the Royal Opera House in central London, on February 13, 2011. Grint says the author, who has been accused of being transphobic, is like a troubling "auntie."
Auntie and me
CARL DE SOUZA/AFP via Getty Images

They say you can’t choose family, especially not when their views are retrograde and offensive. If you’re Harry Potter star Rupert Grint, however, it turns out you can and do select your own problematic relatives and claim them as your own.

Speaking to the UK’s Times, Grint explained his complicated relationship to openly transphobic Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling by comparing her role in his life to that of a troubling aunt.

“I liken J.K. Rowling to an auntie,” Grint told the paper. “I don’t necessarily agree with everything my auntie says, but she’s still my auntie. It’s a tricky one.”

For anyone who missed it, the once-beloved author of the Harry Potter series came under fire in 2020 after taking to Twitter to air some openly transphobic grievances, mocking an article’s use of the gender-neutral term “people who menstruate.” Despite intense and immediate backlash from pretty much everyone, including many a dismayed Harry Potter fan, Rowling has repeatedly doubled down on her controversial stance, penning a lengthy personal essay attempting to explain her views and continuing to commit the occasional random act of transphobia on Twitter, most recently in December.

Basically, J.K. Rowling is the problematic aunt of the Harry Potter world who makes holiday dinners really uncomfortable by soapboxing her embarrassing and offensive beliefs. While it’s definitely a little cringe for a 33-year-old man to refer to a noted transphobe as “auntie” (maybe it’s a British thing?) it does feel like a pretty apt comparison. Though I’m sure some would rather see Grint denounce Rowling altogether, it makes sense that he may struggle to completely cut ties with the woman responsible for his fame whom he’s known since childhood, or that he feels it’s simply not worth the effort and drama. (As anyone who has a real-life problematic aunt in their family well knows, it’s rarely worth the effort and drama.)

Honestly, mentally resigning J.K. Rowling to the role of problematic aunt is a coping strategy I would recommend to any dismayed Potterheads who feel conflicted about continuing to support a beloved book series created by such a shameless transphobe. You don’t have to let J.K. Rowling and her transphobia ruin Harry Potter, just like you don’t have to let your weird aunt ruin Christmas.