Harry Potter actress praised for thanking JK Rowling

‘Thank you for standing up to bullies and lauding J.K. Rowling!’ Harry Potter actress is praised by fans for ‘not being like her co-stars’ after saying she ‘owes everything’ to the author despite trans row

  • Afshan Azad, 33, from Manchester, played Padma Patil in the fantasy film series 
  • Thanked Rowling for casting in 2001’s Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
  • Actress was dubbed ‘brave’ to not distance herself from author after trans row
  • Comes after news the author will be excluded from HBO Max anniversary special

An actress who starred in the Harry Potter film series has been praised for ‘standing up to bullies’ after she thanked J.K. Rowling for launching her career.  

Afshan Azad, 33, from Manchester, who played Padma Patil in the fantasy film franchise, took to Twitter to say she ‘owes everything’ to Rowling and the movie’s casting directors. 

Fans were quick to thank Azad for her tweets, dubbing her ‘braver and more gracious’ than several of her co-stars, who have distanced themselves from Rowling after she became embroiled in a row surrounding tweets about transgender people.

It comes after it emerged Rowling, 56, will not appear in an HBO Max special celebrating 20 years of the Harry Potter films, despite creating the characters.

Afshan Azad, 33, from Manchester, took to Twitter to thank the author for choosing her to star as Padma Patil in the fantasy film series. She Azad is pictured as Ron Weasley in 2005 film Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire

Several users revered Azad for her tweets, dubbing her ‘braver and more gracious’ than several of her co-stars, who have distanced themselves from the writer 

She took to Twitter to thank the author for choosing her to star in the fantasy film series, adding that she ‘owes everything’ to Rowling and the casting directors

‘When the Philosophers Stone film came out I was sucked into the magical world like every other kid’, wrote mother-of-one Afshan. 

‘Little did I know years later I’d audition for a role that would change my entire life upside down. I owe everything to JK Rowling, the casting agents and the Potter films.’ 

The actress, who starred in five of the Harry Potter films, was quickly met with praise from other users who lauded her for having the courage to speak positively about the author despite the risk of controversy. 

‘Respect. You are braver and more gracious than some of your co-stars, that’s for sure’, wrote one. 

The actress, who starred in five of the Harry Potter films, was quickly met with praise from other users who lauded her for having the courage to speak positively about the author despite the risk of controversy

‘How good of you to be brave enough not to distance yourself from her as other cast members have (probably for their own protection)’, said another. 

A third wrote: ‘Beautifully put. Well done in acknowledging those that had a positive impact in your life and standing up for them. Especially as others slink away in fear from bullies & trolls.’

Another added: ‘Thank you. You are brave and gracious. Sometimes doing the right thing is not easy. You’ve taken a huge personal risk to show respect to the person who gave you an opportunity. I wish you all the best in the future. You will be remembered whilst they will be forgotten.’

Several Harry Potter stars, including Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, distanced themselves from Rowling after she was condemned for mocking an online article which used the words ‘people who menstruate’ instead of ‘women’.

It comes after news that despite creating the story of Harry Potter, Rowling, 56, will be excluded from a reunion of cast members from all eight Harry Potter films to celebrate the series’ 20th anniversary 

The 20th anniversary special will be the first time the English actors have made a public appearance together since the premiere of the last premiere of the franchise, Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 2, in New York City back in July 2011

She was hit by what she described as ‘relentless attacks’ after she wrote: ‘I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?’

The acclaimed novelist then penned a deeply personal essay to address the controversy, revealing she was sexually assaulted in her 20s and saying she still feels the scars of ‘domestic violence’ in her first marriage.

Her remarks led to a massive backlash with criticism coming from fans and Harry Potter stars including Evanna Lynch, who played Luna Lovegood, Katie Leung who played Cho Chang and Eddie Redmayne who played Newt Scamander in Fantastic Beasts.

 

The children’s book author was accused of being transphobic in June 2020 after she criticised an opinion piece that used the term ‘people who menstruate’ instead of women, and tweeted about biological sex

But actor Robbie Coltrane – who played Rubeus Hagrid in the movies – told the Radio Times: ‘I don’t think what she said was offensive really.

‘I don’t know why but there’s a whole Twitter generation of people who hang around waiting to be offended.

Rowling has found herself at the forefront of the trans debate and has been targeted by trans campaigners who called for her to be ‘cancelled’ after she spoke out

He added: ‘That’s me talking like a grumpy old man, but you just think, “Oh, get over yourself”.’

She was also defended by Eddie Izzard, who recently insisted she doesn’t believe the Harry Potter author is transphobic.

Izzard said: ‘I don’t think JK Rowling is transphobic. I think we need to look at the things she has written about in her blog. 

‘Women have been through such hell over history. Trans people have been invisible, too. I hate the idea we are fighting between ourselves, but it’s not going to be sorted with the wave of a wand.

‘I don’t have all the answers. If people disagree with me, fine – but why are we going through hell on this?’

Rowling was also subjected to bitter attacks from transgender activists following the publication of her latest novel, Troubled Blood.

The novel is published under Rowling’s pseudonym Robert Galbraith and features a ‘transvestite serial killer’, which sparked furious backlash online a day before the book’s release on September 15.

A collection of over 50 actors, writers, playwrights, journalists joined together to pen a letter in response to ‘hate speech’ directed against Rowling.

Signatories of the letter include Booker winner Ian McEwan, actor Griff Rhys Jones, actress Frances Barber and playwright Sir Tom Stoppard.

It was was triggered in response to the hashtag #RIPJKRowling trending at number one on Twitter and said Rowling was a victim of ‘an insidious, authoritarian and misogynistic trend in social media’.

The letter wrote the hashtag declaring her dead on social media was ‘just the latest example of hate speech directed against her’.


She was then embroiled in another controversy after it was revealed that the villain in her latest book Troubled Blood (right) is a male serial killer who dresses as a woman to slay his victims

Defending her comments, Rowling previously said: ‘If sex isn’t real, there’s no same-sex attraction. 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.

‘The idea that women like me, who’ve been empathetic to trans people for decades, feeling kinship because they’re vulnerable in the same way as women – i.e., to male violence – ‘hate’ trans people because they think sex is real and has lived consequences – is a nonsense.’

She continued: ‘I respect every trans person’s right to live any way that feels authentic and comfortable to them. I’d march with you if you were discriminated against on the basis of being trans.

‘At the same time, my life has been shaped by being female. I do not believe it’s hateful to say so.’

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