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Guardian writer claims ‘wife-beating’ not as bad as J.K. Rowling's traditional gender views

A piece from The Guardian on Friday said allegations of the Fantastic Beasts franchise’s main stars getting violent “feels like small beer” compared to author J.K. Rowling’s insistence on biological sex being a reality.

In the eyebrow-raising passage, writer Ryan Gilbey appeared more perturbed by the drama surrounding Rowling’s statements on gender than allegations of actor Johnny Depp beating his wife and actor Ezra Miller assaulting people.

FILE - In this July 21, 2018 file photo, Johnny Depp appears in character as Gellert Grindelwald at the Warner Bros. Theatrical panel for "Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald" on day three of Comic-Con International in San Diego. Depp's charismatic leader at the center of the new "Fantastic Beasts" sequel isn't modeled on President Donald Trump. But the stars of "Crimes of Grindelwald," which J.K. Rowling was writing during the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign, say there are some similarities. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP, File)

FILE – In this July 21, 2018 file photo, Johnny Depp appears in character as Gellert Grindelwald at the Warner Bros. Theatrical panel for "Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald" on day three of Comic-Con International in San Diego. Depp’s charismatic leader at the center of the new "Fantastic Beasts" sequel isn’t modeled on President Donald Trump. But the stars of "Crimes of Grindelwald," which J.K. Rowling was writing during the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign, say there are some similarities. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP, File)

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Gilbey described how series star Depp “was asked to leave by Warner Bros after losing his libel case against the Sun newspaper, which had referred to him as a ‘wife-beater’ following accusations of domestic violence made against him by his ex-wife Amber Heard.”

In addition, he recounted how fellow Fantastic Beast actor Miller “was videoed grabbing a woman by the throat in a bar in Reykjavik” two years ago, and just “last week, the actor was arrested for disorderly conduct in a Hawaii karaoke bar; reports from the same night allege that Miller burst into a private residence and threatened the couple living there.”

However, in the next paragraph Gilbey claimed that those allegations of assault were “small” in comparison to Rowling not being politically correct enough for the LGBTQ community.

Actor Ezra Miller, 29, was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct and harassment shortly after midnight on Monday, March 28, 2022 after an incident at a bar in Hilo, Hawaii, police said. Bail was set at $500, which he paid, and he was released. 

Actor Ezra Miller, 29, was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct and harassment shortly after midnight on Monday, March 28, 2022 after an incident at a bar in Hilo, Hawaii, police said. Bail was set at $500, which he paid, and he was released. 
(Hawaii Police Department)

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The Guardian author wrote, “This all feels like small beer compared to the controversy that has swirled around Rowling over the past few years, ever since a long essay she wrote about her gender-critical feminism put at the centre of the row about trans rights.”

UK journalist Sarah Ditum noticed the line and tweeted, “So according to the Guardian here: ‘wife-beating’ and choking women in public are ‘small beer’ compared to JK Rowling writing accurately about the law, biology and her own victimization.”

FILE - Advocates for transgender people march from the South Dakota governor's mansion to the Capitol in Pierre, S.D., on March 11, 2021. A South Dakota legislative committee on Friday, Jan. 14, 2022 approved a bill championed by Gov. Kristi Noem to ban transgender women and girls from participating in school sports leagues that match their gender identity. (AP Photo/Stephen Groves, File)

FILE – Advocates for transgender people march from the South Dakota governor’s mansion to the Capitol in Pierre, S.D., on March 11, 2021. A South Dakota legislative committee on Friday, Jan. 14, 2022 approved a bill championed by Gov. Kristi Noem to ban transgender women and girls from participating in school sports leagues that match their gender identity. (AP Photo/Stephen Groves, File)
(AP Photo/Stephen Groves, File)

After further backlash, The Guardian appended a note saying, “This article was amended on 8 April 2022 to rephrase a sentence that inadvertently appeared to downplay the actions of Depp and Miller.”

Instead of reading, “This all feels like small beer compared to the controversy that has swirled around Rowling over the past few years,” the revised piece now states, “This all occurred alongside the controversy that has swirled around Rowling over the past few years.”

Author and former New York Magazine writer Jesse Singal caught that The Guardian updated the piece to remove Gilbey’s original comparison. 

Singal tweeted, “They subsequently edited the sentence out, but if ever you needed a grotesque example of where we are on this stuff… Just absolutely insane.”

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Rowling has courted controversy in recent years with LGBTQ activists, fans, and even the stars of the mainline Harry Potter film series, for insisting that womanhood is tied to biology.

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