JK Rowling’s agent defends her over Jon Stewart’s ‘antisemitic goblins’
JK Rowling’s agent has come to her defence after she was accused by comedian Jon Stewart of modelling characters in her Harry Potter films on antisemitic caricatures.
The former Daily Show host was referring to the goblins in the fictional Gringotts Bank, who are depicted as ill-tempered, short-statured creatures with long noses and ears with a love of gold.
They appear in several Potter films, including the first instalment Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.
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“It was one of those things where I saw it on the screen and I was expecting the crowd to be like ‘holy shit, she did not in a wizarding world just throw Jews in there to run the f**king underground bank.’” Stewart said.
“And everyone was like, ‘Wizards,’” Stewart said with a shrug.
He went on to compare the goblins to the portrayal of Jews in the infamous antisemitic tract The Protocols of the Elders of Zion: “[People think] ‘Oh that’s a character from Harry Potter,’ [and] you’re like, ‘No that’s a caricature of a Jew from an antisemitic piece of literature’
He added: “[But] JK Rowling was like, ‘Can we get these guys to run our bank?’”
Stewart was supported by another Jewish comic, Sarah Silverman, who said footage from the Harry Potter films, which she had watched for the first time, had left just “just kind of stunned”.
I’ve actually never seen Harry Potter and after watching the below and then seeing the clip in the thread I am just kind of stunned. You know when you giggle but it’s really more fear than joy? https://t.co/regNsfbfjX
— Sarah Silverman (@SarahKSilverman) January 4, 2022
“You know when you giggle but it’s really more fear than joy?” she tweeted.
But JK Rowling’s literary agent Neil Blair came to her defence, insisting the author did not have “an antisemitic bone in her body”.
Total and utter bs. @jk_rowling hasn’t an antisemitic bone in her body. Quite the opposite IN FACT (a concept out of fashion these days). @JonStewart should apologise for his ignorant, false and hurtful smear. Sometimes I feel that the whole world has gone mad.. https://t.co/e9HP46uVIW
— Neil Blair (@NeilBlairTBP) January 4, 2022
He called on Stewart to apologise for what he termed a smear against the author.
The comparison is not new. Rafael Shimunov, a progressive activist, pointed in a Twitter thread to examples of others who have noted the similarities between the goblins and antisemitic stereotypes.