A Heartstopper Star Responded To Backlash Over His Harry Potter Project
"I know far more now than I did three years ago."
Sebastian Croft’s journey to Hogwarts hasn’t exactly been a magical one. After the Heartstopper star was announced as one of the main voices for a new Harry Potter video game called Hogwarts Legacy, he was met with immediate backlash, as fans questioned his involvement in the franchise. In response, Croft apologized to his disappointed fans and explained why he signed onto the Harry Potter game in the first place.
The Twitter account for Hogwarts Legacy revealed Croft as the voice of one playable protagonist on Jan. 11, with actor Amelia Gething voicing the other playable character option. Croft’s casting in particular confused fans because the message of his hit series Heartstopper and his own activism on behalf of LGBTQ+ communities seemed incongruent with Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling’s well-documented anti-trans views. Notably, the game will include options for players to create a transgender character, and the Hogwarts Legacy website mentions Rowling was not involved in creating the new game. However, the developers did work closely with her team to ensure the game was in line with the world Rowling created, the website confirms.
Regardless of how involved or not involved Rowling was in creating the game, for many fans, the franchise as a whole has been tainted by Rowling’s views, and thus Twitter blew up with critics calling Croft out for taking the part in the new video game.
On Jan. 14, Croft addressed the backlash in a pair of tweets, explaining that he was cast in Hogwarts Legacy before he was aware of the controversy surrounding Rowling, and affirmed that he fully supports trans rights. “I was cast in this project over 3 years ago, back when all Harry Potter was to me, was the magical world I grew up with,” Croft wrote. “This was long before I was aware of JK Rowling’s views. I believe whole heartedly that trans women are women and trans men are men. I know far more now than I did 3 years ago, and hope to learn far more in the next 3. I’m really sorry to anyone hurt by this announcement. There is no LGB without the T.”
Hogwarts Legacy was officially announced at the end of 2020, which is probably around the time Croft was brought on board. This was also around the time Rowling’s anti-trans views became widespread public knowledge, after she tweeted her disagreement with an article that used the phrase “people who menstruate” in June 2020. Since then, Rowling has doubled down on her offensive comments, and former Harry Potter fans have called for boycotts of Harry Potter in an attempt to stop Rowling from profiting from franchise royalties.
Hogwarts Legacy will release on PS5, XBox, and Windows on Feb. 10, with a Nintendo Switch release planned for July 25.