Warner Bros. Responds to J.K. Rowling Controversy

Warner Bros. late June 10 issued a statement pertaining to comments “Harry Potter” author J.K. Rowling made last weekend about transgender identity. In a series of posts on social media, Rowling said women should be identified by their biological sex rather than gender identity.

“If sex isn’t real, there’s no same-sex attraction,” Rowling wrote on her website. “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.”

Rowling’s comments produced pushback on social media from the LGBTQ community and supporters claiming the author was advocating against her own message of inclusivity and empathy found in many “Harry Potter” books.

“Potter” stars Emma Watson and Daniel Radcliffe, in addition to “Fantastic Beasts” star Eddie Redmayne took to social media in support of the transgender community.

“Transgender women are women,” Radcliffe wrote on a post. “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 …”

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Warner said the events in the past several weeks affirmed its resolve as a company to confront difficult societal issues — including fostering a diverse and inclusive culture.

“We deeply value the work of our storytellers who give so much of themselves in sharing their creations with us all,” the studio said in a statement. “We recognize our responsibility to foster empathy and advocate understanding of all communities and all people, particularly those we work with and those we reach through our content.”

For Warner, the controversy comes as Rowling is writing the script for Fantastic Beasts 3 and other projects near and dear to the studio’s bottom line. The “Potter” movie franchise has resulted in more than $6.5 billion at the global box office, in addition to millions more in home entertainment sales.

Warner Releasing ‘Crimes of Grindelwald’ Digitally Feb. 15, on Disc March 12

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will release Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald digitally Feb. 15, and on Blu-ray, DVD and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray March 12.

The film is the 10th entry in the “Wizarding World” franchise, a sequel to 2016’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, and a prequel to the “Harry Potter” films.

The Blu-ray and the 4K UHD Blu-ray combo pack will include a digital download of an extended cut of the film with more than seven minutes of additional footage.

The film was written by “Harry Potter” creator J.K. Rowling and directed by David Yates. The story involves Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) recruiting Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) to stop the threat of the recently escaped magical criminal Gellert Grindelwald (Johnny Depp) from raising an army of pure-blood wizards to rule over non-magical beings.

The cast also includes Katherine Waterston, Dan Fogler, Alison Sudol, Ezra Miller, Zoë Kravitz, Callum Turner, Claudia Kim, William Nadylam, Kevin Guthrie, Carmen Ejogo and Poppy Corby-Tuech.

Crimes of Grindelwald earned $158.5 million at the domestic box office.

Home video extras include an audio introduction by Yates, deleted scenes; the featurettes “J.K. Rowling: A World Revealed,” “Wizards on Screen, Fans in Real Life” and “Distinctly Dumbledore”; and “Unlocking Scene Secrets” featurettes including “The Return to Hogwarts,” “Newt’s Menagerie,” “Credence, Nagini and the Circus Arcanus,” “Paris and Place Cachée,” “Ministere des Affaires Magiques” and “Grindelwald’s Escape and the Ring of Fire.”

The 4K edition will feature Dolby Vision HDR and a Dolby Atmos soundtrack.