London’s Comic Con pulls Harry Potter discussion panel after LGBTQ+ charity complained of ‘potential impact on trans individuals’ following backlash at author JK Rowling over her trans views
The MCM London Comic Comic Con has cancelled a planned Harry Potter themed panel from its October event after an LGBT group claimed it would not be a ‘safe and inclusive environment’.
Activists from the LGBT group Switchboard threatened to pull out of hosting the first pride lounge if the panel was allowed to partake in the event due to author JK Rowling’s historical ‘transphobic’ remarks.
The National LGBTQIA+ helpline claimed they had been ‘compelled to express their concerns about the potential impact on the community’ the panel would have in relation to ‘trans individuals.’
It said that the panel’s presence would not equate to MCM Comic Con providing the ‘safe and inclusive environment’ that it had promised but others have argued that the event’s decision to cancel is a ‘capitulation.’
The group claimed that Comic Con had been ‘receptive’ to its concerns and that their own space at the event would be a ‘sanctuary’ where LGBTQIA+ people could ‘connect with one another, and recharge during the event.’
Activists from the LGBT group Switchboard threatened to pull out of London’s MCM Comic Con if a Harry Potter themed panel was allowed to partake in the event
‘Transphobic’ JK Rowling (pictured) believes in some circumstances women and girls should have the right to single-sex spaces
Switchboard, the National LGBTQIA+ helpline, claimed they had been ‘compelled to express their concerns about the potential impact on the community’
A panel from the West End play had been set to deliver a talk at the event
Although still one of the most popular film and literary franchises of all time, the Harry Potter series has become associated with elements of transphobia in recent years due to comments made by its author.
Who are Switchboard?
Switchboard are an LGBT+ helpline that has offered support and advice to the UK gay community since 1974.
The group say their mission statement is to provide a ‘safe space for anyone to discuss anything, including sexuality, gender identity, sexual health and emotional well-being.’
The group will host Comic Con’s first Pride Lounge at the event next October in London’s ExCel centre.
The description on the event says it will be the perfect place to ‘rest and reflect’ and that ‘pronoun badges’ will also be on offer.
JK Rowling – the mastermind behind the seven best-seller Harry Potter books – came under intense scrutiny over her position on women’s rights and gender.
The author believes in some circumstances that women and girls should have the right to single-sex spaces, causing her to be at the centre of transphobic rows over the past few years.
Rowling, 56, faced accusations of transphobia after she mocked an online article in June 2020 which used the words ‘people who menstruate’ instead of ‘women’.
She later defended herself against the claims in a passionate essay – but has been criticised by some ever since.
The panel in question was set to be put on by the production team of West End play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.
In a statement released to Pink News, MCM London Comic Con stressed that the aim of the panel had been to ‘hear from the production team working behind the scenes.’
They said the decision to cancel the panel was a ‘joint decision.’
A spokesman said: ‘Following discussions between MCM Comic Con and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, a joint decision has been taken for the production not to run the proposed panel on 28 October.
The aim of the panel was to hear from the production team working behind the scenes. Thank you for your understanding.”
MailOnline has approached the West End production for comment.
The decision to cancel the panel due to external pressure has been mocked online as an overeaction and a ‘capitulation.’
The decision to cancel the panel due to external pressure was described as a ‘capitulation’
Drawing attention to the fracas, GB News presenter Andrew Doyle said: ‘A Harry Potter panel at London’s Comic Con event has been cancelled due to pressure from activist group Switchboard.
‘When will organisations stop capitulating to these ideologues?’
One person said: ‘They’ll stop capitulating as soon as they realise this performative nonsense is walloping them right in the profit margin.’
Another argued: ‘Because this is all they can do. They’ll never be able to “cancel” JKR or her books so they go for small victories like these to make themselves feel better.’
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