US comedian Jon Stewart has denied accusing Harry Potter author JK Rowling of antisemitism, and told media outlets to “eat [his] ass” for distorting lighthearted comments he made about the series in a fortnight-old podcast discussion. The claims that he’d accused Rowling of antisemitism – for the series’ depiction of hook-nosed goblins running banks – first appeared in Newsweek on Tuesday, and were then picked up by multiple other outlets, including Variety, Rolling Stone, the Express and GB News. Loath to get wrapped up in yet another JK Rowling culture war (who can blame him?) Stewart hit back:
“[Let] me just say this super-clearly, as clearly as I can, ‘Hello, my name is Jon Stewart. I do not think JK Rowling is anti-Semitic. I do not think the Harry Potter movies are anti-Semitic. I really love the Harry Potter movies, probably too much for a gentleman of my considerable age.
Get a f*****g grip.”
Nonetheless, Twitter had already erupted with claims that the ‘Gringotts Goblins’ were evidence of Rowling’s antisemitism, not least from left-wingers still resentful of Rowling’s past criticisms of both Jeremy Corbyn, Scottish independence and the ever-lasting trans-rights debate. As Dave Rich, director of policy at Jewish charity the Community Security Trust said, “Sometimes a goblin is just a goblin.” Guido can’t help thinking those who immediately identify goblins as Jewish caricatures might want to double-check their own unconscious biases…