“Do you ban a genius for their sexual practices? There would be millions of people who if you looked closely enough at their personal life you would disqualify them,” Bonham Carter said. “You can’t ban people. I hate cancel culture. It has become quite hysterical and there’s a kind of witch-hunt and a lack of understanding.”
“It’s horrendous, a load of bollocks. I think she has been hounded,” Bonham Carter said about the backlash to Rowling’s history of transphobic comments. “It’s been taken to the extreme, the judgmentalism of people. She’s allowed her opinion, particularly if she’s suffered abuse.”
The actress — who played Bellatrix Lestrange in the Harry Potter film series — continued, “Everybody carries their own history of trauma and forms their opinions from that trauma and you have to respect where people come from and their pain. You don’t all have to agree on everything — that would be insane and boring. She’s not meaning it aggressively, she’s just saying something out of her own experience.”
It’s worth noting that Rowling’s past experiences with domestic violence and sexual assault were not at the hands of a transgender person. Instead, Rowling previously positioned her traumatic experiences from a violent marriage as an argument against “new trans activism.”
And while Rowling is “allowed her opinion,” detractors also have every right to push back against the author’s history of making transphobic comments dating all the way back to December 2019, which includes a 3,600-word manifesto.
Bonham Carter was sure not to speak against other members of the Harry Potter cast that have criticized Rowling’s views, including Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint. “Personally I feel they should let her have her opinions, but I think they’re very aware of protecting their own fan base and their generation,” she said. “It’s hard. One thing with the fame game is that there’s an etiquette that comes with it; I don’t agree with talking about other famous people.”
However, Bonham Carter isn’t the only member of the Harry Potter cast to express their support for Rowling’s transphobic comments: both Robbie Coltrane (Hagrid) and Ralph Fiennes (Lord Voldemort) have also come to her defense.
Elsewhere in the conversation, Bonham Carter gave her thoughts about Depp’s recent victory in his defamation trial against his ex-wife Amber Heard. Bonham Carter shares a close professional and personal relationship with Depp, with whom she has collaborated in multiple films. Depp is also the godfather to her two children with former partner Tim Burton.
According to Bonham Carter, the verdict “completely vindicated” Depp. “I think he’s fine now,” she said, further speculating that Heard “got on that pendulum” of the #MeToo movement. Bonham Carter added, “That’s the problem with these things — that people will jump on the bandwagon because it’s the trend and to be the poster girl for it.”
This past June, Depp was awarded $10 million in compensatory damages and an additional $5 million in his defamation lawsuit against Heard over a 2018 op-ed in The Washington Post. Heard was awarded $2 million for her counterclaim.
Before that, Depp lost a libel lawsuit against The Sun in Bonham Carter’s native UK, where a judge ruled in November 2020 that “the great majority” of Heard’s assault accusations could be “proved to the civil standard.”
Earlier this year, Rowling published her latest book, The Ink Black Heart, under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith. One of the characters in the work of fiction is a woman who is persecuted for being transphobic, though Rowling pushed back against claims it was inspired by her own life.
As for Depp, the actor has bounced right back by returning behind the camera for his first feature-length film in 25 years, releasing a new album with Jeff Beck, and reuniting The Hollywood Vampires with Alice Cooper and Joe Perry.
Read the full interview in The Times.