Warner Bros. is making it known that the studio is still in business with J.K. Rowling after a dust-up between a reporter and a publicist suggested otherwise. According to reports, Tom Felton was promoting the expansion of “The Making of Harry Potter” attraction in London when he was asked about Rowling’s current status in the franchise based on her bestselling books. The author has been the center of controversy following a series of anti-trans remarks, which seemingly resulted in her having a minimal presence in the recent Harry Potter reunion special.
“You and the other stars of the film are still very much the face of the franchise, if you like. We speak to you and hear from you guys… J.K. obviously has sort of more of a back seat now. Is it strange for her not being around at things like this?” a Sky News reporter asked, according to Variety.
The question prompted what’s being described as an “external PR executive” to step in and shut down the line of questioning. When Sky News later asked why the reporter was blocked (via Variety), the executive’s third-party firm wrote in an email, “J.K. Rowling is not connected to Warner or Tom Felton, the team felt it was not relevant to the piece.”
Warner Bros. has since issued a statement where it set the record straight that it’s still firmly in business with Rowling. Via Variety:
“Warner Bros. has enjoyed a creative, productive and fulfilling partnership with J.K. Rowling for the past 20 years. She is one of the world’s most accomplished storytellers, and we are proud to be the studio to bring her vision, characters and stories to life now — and for decades to come. On Monday, a statement was issued by a third-party media agency that appeared contrary to this view. The statement was wholly wrong, and Warner Bros. Studio Tour London regrets it happened as part of a media event that day.”
Despite the controversy surrounding Rowling, Harry Potter remains a lucrative franchise for Warner Bros. thanks to the immense popularity of the books and films. The studio is also reportedly developing a live-action series for HBO Max that has the potential of being the next Game of Thrones for the network.