Comedian Jon Stewart has accused writer JK Rowling, author of the Harry Potter books, of using anti-Semitic imagery when depicting the characters who run Gringotts bank
Harry Potter author JK Rowling, who has been at the centre of a row over her comments about transgender women, has now been accused of using anti-Semitic imagery in her famous books.
Former US talk show host and comedian Jon Stewart has hit out at the writer, saying imagery used in the film version of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was “anti-Semitic”.
The comic said he thought it was “so weird” that people had not reacted to the “Jews” running the underground Gringotts Wizarding Bank.
It comes after JK, who is known for her stance against anti-Semitism and has been defended by Jewish charities, faced further backlash for her views on transgender rights.
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Jon expressed concern over scenes set in the magical bank, which is run by goblins, on his podcast The Problem with Jon Stewart.
He 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!'”
He went on: “Let me show this – it’s the protocols of the Elders of Zion, I just want to show you a caricature, and they’re like, ‘Oh, that’s from Harry Potter.
“And you’re like, ‘No, that’s a caricature of a Jew from an anti-Semitic 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.”
Talking about watching the film in the cinema, he added: “It was one of those things where I saw it on the screen and I was expecting the crowd to be like, ‘Holy s**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.”
Rowling was featured in a recent 20th anniversary Harry Potter reunion special, but only in archive video clips.
Since the films were released she has become a controversial figure over her comments on gender identity and attracted criticism from many, including franchise stars Emma Watson and Daniel Radcliffe.
She has also had support from a number of famous faces, including outspoken former Good Morning Britain star Piers Morgan.
Sharing an article with the headline ‘JK Rowling is slammed by ANOTHER Harry Potter star she helped make famous’, Piers wrote: “Weasley by name and nature. These Potter stars are such a bunch of ungrateful little twerps… more interested in pathetic virtue-signalling than supporting the right of the woman who made them all rich & famous to have an opinion most people agree with.”
The backlash has seen a school that named a house after the author rename it due to her “comments and viewpoints surrounding trans people”.
The Boswells School in Chelmsford, Essex said her views did not align with those of the school.
JK’s representatives did not want to comment on the anti-Semitism accusations.
But Jewish organisations have defended her following Jon’s comments.
Dave Rich, director of policy at Jewish charity the Community Security Trust, told MailOnline : “JK Rowling has been very supportive of the Jewish community in recent years and tweeted repeatedly against antisemitism, so it is hard to imagine that she used anti-semitic caricatures in her books. Sometimes a goblin is just a goblin.”
Comedian David Baddiel also spoke out to say: “The goblins in Harry Potter need to be seen not in a simplistic #teamRowling vs #antiteamRowling way but in a many-centuries long, deeply subconsciously embedded cultural context.”