Jon Stewart has claimed he never meant to accuse JK Rowling or the ‘Harry Potter’ films of being anti-Semitic, despite fallout from a previous conversation on the topic.
On his podcast ‘The Problem with Jon Stewart,’ the comedian said he was surprised to see a previous podcast conversation trending on Twitter, as more and more people highlighted Stewart’s comments comparing the goblin banker characters in the ‘Harry Potter’ films to Jewish caricatures.
“JK 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,” he said in the clip. Stewart claimed the segment of film featuring the goblin characters and the Gringotts bank resemble imagery from the 1903 fabricated anti-Semitic book, ‘The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.’
Stewart is now claiming, however, that he was merely “having a larf” – or laugh – and that Rowling was brought up as part of a longer discussion.
“There is no reasonable person that could have watched it and seen it as more than a lighthearted conversation between colleagues and chums, having a larf,” he said, specifically name-dropping Newsweek as an outlet committing “f**king arson” in its coverage of his remarks.
Newsweek et al, may eat my ass. pic.twitter.com/eRoYYeNRi1— Jon Stewart (@jonstewart) January 5, 2022
Stewart at one point addressed the camera and revealed he does not think the ‘Harry Potter’ franchise is anti-Semitic, nor does he think Rowling is. The author’s books inspired the massive movie franchise, which continues to this day with the ‘Fantastic Beast’ series, but Rowling was only credited as a producer on the final two ‘Harry Potter’ films.
Though Stewart disputes how his words have been characterized, he did say that his conversation on the ‘Potter’ movies – which he claims to “love” – was about “some tropes” being “embedded in society that they're basically invisible, even in a considered process like moviemaking,” though he did not immediately specify any particular “tropes.”
Stewart said in his original talk that he was “surprised” more people hadn’t come to the conclusion he did.
“It was one of those things where I saw it on the screen and I was expecting the crowd to be like, ‘Holy s**t, [Rowling] did not, in a wizarding world, just throw Jews in there to run the f**king underground bank,” he said.