Former Daily Show host Jon Stewart has accused author J.K. Rowling of anti-Semitic themes in her Harry Potter franchise.
Stewart called out the fantasy franchise’s goblin banker characters as resembling Jewish caricatures – suggesting that the goblins resemble an illustration in the 1903 anti-Semitic book The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
Stewart said on a recent episode of his podcast, The Problem With Jon Stewart:
“Here’s how you know Jews are still where they are. 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, [that illustration is] from Harry Potter!’ And you’re like, ‘No, that’s a caricature of a Jew from an anti-Semitic piece of literature.’ J.K. 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?”
“It was one of those things where I saw it on the screen and I was expecting the crowd to be like, ‘Holy shit, [Rowling] did not, in a wizarding world, just throw Jews in there to run the fucking underground bank. And everybody was just like, ‘Wizards.’ It was so weird.”
Warner Bros. and Rowling had no immediate comment when approached by THR.
Goblins were a highly intelligent race of small magical humanoid beings with long fingers and feet that coexisted with the wizarding world. Their diet consisted of meat, roots, and fungi. Goblins conversed in a language known as Gobbledegook, and were adept metalsmiths notable for their silverwork; they even minted coins for wizarding currency. Due to their skills with money and finances, they controlled the wizarding economy to a large extent and ran Gringotts Wizarding Bank.
“We are talking about a different breed of being. Dealings between wizards and goblins have been fraught for centuries … There has been fault on both sides, I would never claim that wizards have been innocent. However, there is a belief among some goblins, and those at Gringotts are perhaps most prone to it, that wizards cannot be trusted in matters of gold and treasure, that they have no respect for goblin ownership.” – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
Stewart is not the first to point out the resemblance between the goblins and anti-Semitic drawings. Children’s author Marianne Levy wrote an article in The Jewish Chronicle in 2019 stating:
“It is not often that I am stopped in my tracks. But the press photography from the new Gringotts wing of Warner Bros.’ Harry Potter Studio tour positively shrieked with antisemitic tropes; the long-nosed goblin, his natty suit, clawed fingers caressing a pile of gold coins. When I positioned a Gringotts shot alongside a series of cartoons from Nazi Germany’s Der Stürmer, it did not seem out of place.”
Rowling has faced backlash due to controversial social media comments, including ones about the transgender community – saying that transgender individuals should be defined by their biological sex.
It was announced this week that a secondary school specialising in performing arts has quietly cancelled Harry Potter author JK Rowling – replacing her as a house name over her ‘comments and viewpoints surrounding trans people’.
The Boswells School in Chelmsford, Essex, had honoured the writer for one of its in-school groups, which had also been labelled with the quality of ‘self-discipline’.
But it emerged she had been replaced over the summer with Olympic hero Dame Kelly Holmes.
She also recently made headlines for not appearing in any of the new footage in HBO Max’s newly released Harry Potter reunion special, Return to Hogwarts, as well fans pointing out her name was largely absent from the first trailer for the upcoming third Fantastic Beasts movie, The Secrets of Dumbledore, which she produced and co-wrote.