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Jon Stewart accuses JK Rowling of anti-Semitism in Harry Potter

‘Here’s how you know Jews are still where they are’: Jon Stewart accuses JK Rowling of anti-Semitism over her depiction of goblins in Harry Potter who run the Gringotts Wizarding Bank

  • Jon Stewart called the goblins that run Gringotts bank in the Harry Potter universe an anti-semitic trope on his The Problem with Jon Stewart podcast 
  • He questioned why J.K. Rowling chose to ‘throw Jews in there to run the f***ing underground bank’ in a world where people ‘can ride dragons and have pet owls’
  • Rowling has been mired in controversy since June 2020, when she posted a series of tweets about the transgender community
  • She was not in attendance for HBO’s 20th anniversary ‘Return to Hogwarts’ reunion special

Jon Stewart has slammed already-embattled J.K. Rowling for the goblins that run Gringotts bank in her Harry Potter film series, calling them out as a anti-Semitic trope. 

The former host of The Daily Show raised the issue on the December 16 episode of his podcast, The Problem with Jon Stewart.  

Stewart, who is Jewish, questioned why Rowling chooses to ‘throw Jews in there to run the f***ing underground bank’ in a fictional world where people ‘can ride dragons and have pet owls.’

The Harry Potter author is no stranger to controversy, and has faced cancellation for her comments regarding transgender issues.  

Jon Stewart (pictured), who is Jewish, questioned why Rowling chooses to ‘throw Jews in there to run the f***ing underground bank’ in a fictional world where people ‘can ride dragons and have pet owls’

Stewart characterized the goblins as an obvious antisemitic trope, and questioned why more people haven’t done the same. Pictured is a movie still from the first Harry Potter film

Stewart, 59, said the banker goblin characters are based on caricatures of Jews from The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, an infamous anti-semitic text that purports to show a Jewish plan for world domination.

‘Here’s how you know Jews are still where they are,’ Stewart said in the episode before bemoaning how those who he’s spoken to have been reluctant to acknowledge the resemblance.

‘I just want to show you a caricature. And they’re like, “Oh, look at that, that’s from Harry Potter!” And you’re like, “No, that’s a caricature of a Jew from an antisemitic piece of literature.” J.K. Rowling was like, “Can we get these guys to run our bank?”‘

Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling (pictured) is no stranger to controversy, and has faced cancellation for her comments regarding transgender issues


Pictured right is an illustration from The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, an antisemitic text that purports to show a Jewish plan for world domination. Pictured left is a sketch by J.K. Rowling of Harry Potter touring Gringotts bank in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, long before Warner Brothers took up the film franchise

When he first saw the Harry Potter films, Stewart said he expected other theater patrons to ‘be like “h*** shit, she did not, in a wizarding world, to just throw Jews in there to run the f***ing underground bank.” And everybody was just like “Wizards.”‘

Stewart isn’t the first to call out the goblins – in 2020, Saturday Night Live comedian Pete Davidson expressed similar frustrations.    

In the Harry Potter books and movies, he said, ‘the woods are controlled by centaurs, the schools are run by wizards and ghosts, but who controls the banks… Jews obviously—little giant-nosed Jew Goblins.’

Twitter questioned the goblin characters even before they were mentioned by the comedians. 

One user from December of 2019, for example, asks ‘Why did you give the money goblins hooked noses, Joanne?’

Another quipped: ‘if you liked grateful slaves & hooknosed banking goblins you’ll love harry potter and the biological essentialism of gender.’     

Rowling, 56, has already faced accusations of transphobia after she mocked an online article in June 2020 which used the words ‘people who menstruate’ instead of ‘women.’

The possibility that the goblins that run Gringotts bank in Harry Potter’s universe are crude Jewish stereotypes was raised long before Jon Stewart mentioned the issue on his podcast

Twitter questioned the goblin characters even before they were mentioned by the comedians

One user from December of 2019, for example, asks ‘Why did you give the money goblins hooked noses, Joanne?’

Another quipped: ‘if you liked grateful slaves & hooknosed banking goblins you’ll love harry potter and the biological essentialism of gender’

She later defended herself against the claims in a passionate essay but has been criticized by some ever since.

Last week she hit back at a claim on US website that she believed there are only two genders.

Rowling wrote: ‘Small but important point: I’ve never said there are only two genders. There are innumerable gender identities.

‘The question at the heart of this debate is whether sex or gender identity should form the basis of decisions on safeguarding, provision of services, sporting categories and other areas where women and girls currently have legal rights and protections.

Rowling, 56, has already faced accusations of transphobia after she mocked an online article in June 2020 which used the words ‘people who menstruate’ instead of ‘women’

In 2020, J.K. Rowling shared a number of articles concerning biological essentialism and detransitioning transgendered people

‘Using the words ‘sex’ and ‘gender’ interchangeably obscures the central issue of this debate.

‘If you’re interested in what I actually said, see this – (in which I literally say ‘trans lives matter’ and ‘trans rights are human rights.’).’  

In the past few weeks debate erupted about whether or not Rowling would appear in the upcoming Harry Potter reunion on Sky.

It was revealed that, in clips of the New Year’s Day special, stars had praised ‘the power of her writing’ and that she would appear in archive footage. 

She is also seen in a segment from 2019 discussing the uphill struggle to find an actor to play Harry when casting the first movie, The Philosopher’s Stone.

The eagerly-anticipated reunion sees Daniel join fellow leads Emma Watson, who played Hermione Granger, and Rupert Grint, who played Ron Weasley, as well as a slew of fellow co-stars in marking 20 years since the franchise first aired.

Despite the star-studded turn out, the author behind the stratospherically successful franchise was not in attendance at the reunion special – sparking outrage from some fans who accused makers of attempting to erase her over her views.       

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