Jon Stewart, the American television host, comedian, and writer, clarified that the remarks he made regarding antisemitism on the Harry Potter films and books were just a part of “a lighthearted conversation” and he was not accusing its writer JK Rowling, of the same.
“I do not think JK Rowling is antisemitic. 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 said.
Stressing on it further, Stewart said, “I am not accusing JK 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.”
On Monday, a video clip from his podcast show The Problem With Jon Stewart went viral where he was seen comparing the goblins who work in the Gringotts Wizarding Bank in Harry Potter, to that of the antisemitic caricatures from the 1903 literary text, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
In the episode that aired on Apple tv + on December 16, talking about Jews, Stewart said, “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, from Harry Potter!’ And you’re like, ‘No, that’s a caricature of a Jew from an antisemitic piece of literature.’ JK 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 further said that it was one of those things where he saw it on screen and expected the crowd to react that Rowling “just threw Jews in there to run the fucking underground bank in a wizarding world.”
While media published articles with headlines that Stewart “called out” or “accused” Rowling of antisemitism, a volunteer-led charity organisation, ‘Campaign Against Antisemitism’, issued a statement pointing out that Rowling has been a defender of the Jewish community. They expressed gratitude towards the writer for standing against antisemitism, over the years.
“The portrayal of the goblins in the Harry Potter series is of a piece with their portrayal in Western literature as a whole,” they said.