J.K. Rowling was practically persona non grata at HBO Max’s Harry Potter reunion, where it seemed like the special’s participants went out of their way to avoid mentioning the woman who created the Potterverse, who has spent the past two-plus years alienating former fans and collaborators with her anti-trans rhetoric. But Jon Stewart’s issues with the bestselling author go back even further.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the former Daily Show host ripped into Rowling on the latest episode of his podcast, The Problem With Jon Stewart, not for her problematic anti-trans comments, but for the goblins that run Gringotts Wizarding Bank in the Harry Potter series.
“Here’s how you know Jews are still where they are,” Stewart explained. “Talking to people, here’s what I say: Have you ever seen a Harry Potter movie? … Have you ever seen the scenes in Gringotts Bank? … Do you know what those folks who run the bank are? … Jews!”
Stewart noted the striking resemblance between Harry Potter’s goblin bankers and an infamous illustration from The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a wildly anti-Semitic tome from 1903. He said that the typical reaction to showing someone that illustration is “‘Oh, [that illustration is] from Harry Potter!’ And you’re like, ‘No, that’s a caricature of a Jew from an anti-Semitic piece of literature.’ J.K. Rowling was like, ‘Can we get these guys to run our bank?’ … It’s a wizarding world … we can ride dragons, you can have a pet owl … but who should run the bank? Jews, … but what if the teeth were sharper?”
Stewart said he was shocked when he first saw the characters—but even more surprised when no one else seemed to be offended. “It was one of those things where I saw it on the screen and I was expecting the crowd to be like, ‘Holy sh*t, [Rowling] did not, in a wizarding world, just throw Jews in there to run the f***ing underground bank. And everybody was just like, ‘Wizards.’ It was so weird.”
While Stewart is not the first person to take offense to the characters, and characterizations, others claim that Rowling has regularly called out anti-Semitism. Neither Rowling nor Warner Bros., the studio behind the Harry Potter juggernaut, responded to THR’s request for comment.
You can watch the full segment with Stewart below.
(Via The Hollywood Reporter)