Jon Stewart Slams J.K. Rowling for Antisemitic Tropes in 'Harry Potter'

"Even Dobby was like, 'That's fucked up'"
Jon Stewart Slams J.K. Rowling for Antisemitic Tropes in 'Harry Potter'
Jon Stewart has called out controversial Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling for tropes in the film/book franchise that he considers antisemitic.

In an episode of the comedian's The Problem with Jon Stewart podcast, he compared the franchise's Gringotts Bank goblins to illustrations featured in the 1903 antisemitic text The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. According to the Harry Potter Wiki [via Deadline], the goblins "control the wizarding economy to a large extent and run Gringotts Wizarding Bank."

Stewart said of the depiction:

Here's how you know Jews are still where they are. 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! And they're like, "Oh, [that illustration is] from Harry Potter!" And you're like, "No, that's a caricature of a Jew from an antisemitic 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?

"It was one of those things where I saw it on the screen and I was expecting the crowd to be like, 'Holy shit, [Rowling] did not, in a wizarding world, just throw Jews in there to run the fucking underground bank," Stewart continued. "And everybody was just like, 'Wizards.' It was so weird. Even Dobby was like, 'That's fucked up.'"

UPDATE (1/5, 4:55 p.m. ET): Stewart has since walked back his comments about Rowling and Harry Potter, now claiming that he never meant to accuse the author of antisemitism in a new video, seen below.
 
"I do not think that J.K. Rowling is antisemitic," said Stewart. "I did not accuse her of being antisemitic. I do not think the Harry Potter movies are antisemitic. I really love the Harry Potter movies, probably too much for a gentleman of my considerable age."

He added: "I cannot stress this enough. I am not accusing J.K. Rowling of being antisemitic. She need not answer to any of it. I don't want the Harry Potter movies censored in any way. It was a lighthearted conversation. Get a fucking grip."

That said, Stewart insisted that some tropes, like the ones depicted in the film series, "are so embedded in society that they're basically invisible, even in a considered process like moviemaking."


This is far from the first time Rowling has come under fire for her literary decisions in recent past. Just last year, the known transphobe published another instalment of her Cormoran Strike book series, which The Telegraph described as "the investigation into a cold case: the disappearance of GP Margot Bamborough in 1974, thought to have been a victim of Dennis Creed, a transvestite serial killer." The decision drew much criticism online from trans allies who called the author a "transphobic piece of shit" for stoking fear among readers to rally against "men" dressing as women.

Recently, HBO Max hosted a 20th anniversary special in celebration of Harry Potter, which was attended by stars Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint — all of whom have spoken out against the author — among others. Rowling was not present at the reunion.

Hear a clip from Stewart's podcast below.