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'Heartstopper' star Sebastian Croft responds to 'Hogwarts Legacy' controversy

Heartstopper actor Sebastian Croft has responded to the online controversy surrounding his voice acting in the Harry Potter game Hogwarts Legacy. Last week, news broke that the Netflix star would voice one of the two main characters in the game based on Jk Rowling’s books and their adapted films. 

Due to Rowling’s alleged transphobia following some controversial questions asked by the author between 2019 and 2020, Croft has faced backlash for working on a game based on her original works. The actor took to Twitter to address this controversy: “I was cast in this project over three years ago, back when all Harry Potter was to me was the magical world I grew up with. This was long before I was aware of JK Rowling’s views.”   

Croft added: “I believe wholeheartedly that trans women are women and trans men are men. I know far more now than I did three years ago and hope to learn far more in the next 3. I’m really sorry to anyone hurt by this announcement. There is no LGB without the T.”

FAQ has reported that Hogwarts Legacy, which Warner Bros. will publish under its Portkey Games label, has not been written by Rowling but is faithful to her original ideas.  

The game’s synopsis reads: “Players will experience life as a student at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in the 1800s as they embark on a dangerous journey to uncover a hidden truth of the wizarding world. They will grow their magical abilities by mastering spells, brewing potions and taming fantastic beasts.”

According to NME, the Warner Bros. Games president stated: “While J.K. Rowling is the creator of Harry Potter, and we are bringing that world to life with the power of Portkey, in many places, she’s a private citizen also. And that means she’s entitled to express her personal opinion on social media. I may not agree with her, and I might not agree with her stance on a range of topics, but I can agree she has the right to hold her opinions.”

Rowling’s alleged bigotry involves a tweet from December 2019, emphasising her belief that transgender people should live their lives as they pleased in “peace and security” but objected to women being “forced out of their jobs for stating that sex is real”. This statement was followed by another Tweet six months later. The author questioned how online language is changing, asking what will happen to discussions about women’s issues if the term “people who menstruate” becomes the accepted wording. 

These statements and questions have led to Rowling’s works being criticised and neglected, with boycotts being the average response to any following project the author puts out or is associated with. 

The controversial Harry Potter game will launch on Friday, February 10th, for PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S and PC. A Playstation 4 and Xbox One version will follow on Thursday, April 4th, while Nintendo Switch players must wait until Tuesday, July 25th.

Croft’s show Heartstopper is also set for a following season, as revealed by Netflix. A release date is yet to be confirmed.

Watch the trailer for the upcoming Harry Potter game below.