Jon Stewart has accused author J.K. Rowling of dealing in anti-Semitic tropes in her Harry Potter franchise.

The former Daily Show host called out the fantasy franchise’s goblin banker characters as resembling Jewish caricatures.

“Here’s how you know Jews are still where they are,” Stewart said on a recent episode of his podcast, The Problem With Jon Stewart. “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!”

He pointed out how the goblins resemble an illustration in the 1903 anti-Semitic book The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

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“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?”

Stewart continued: “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.”

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Stewart is hardly the first to point out the resemblance between the goblins and anti-Semitic drawings.

“It is not often that I am stopped in my tracks,” wrote children’s author Marianne Levy for The Jewish Chronicle in 2019. “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.”

Others have pointed out, in defense of the author, that Rowling has often called out anti-Semitism herself and that the Wizarding World’s pureblood-obsessed fascist villains were clearly inspired by the Nazis. “The Gringotts goblins are totally coded as anti-Semitic Jewish stereotypes,” opined Dan Kahan in PopDust in 2019. “[But] J.K. Rowling almost definitely didn’t do this intentionally. … Rowling also borrowed and pastiched from all sorts of fantasy and folklore while writing Harry Potter, so it’s likely that a lot of the goblins’ more anti-Semitic features are actually related to older fantasy fare surrounding bankers. It just so happens that those were probably inspired by anti-Jewish propaganda.”

Warner Bros. and Rowling had no immediate comment.

Rowling has recently faced backlash due to controversial social media comments, including ones about the transgender community. 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.

Warner Bros. responded to stories speculating about a rift between the studio and the author with a statement in December reiterating their strong relationship with Rowling: “For 20 years, Warner Bros., J.K. Rowling and her team have worked together to delight fans around the world with spectacular storytelling and the magic of the Wizarding World. That relationship continues today and is more collaborative than ever. News reports to the contrary are completely untrue, and we are disappointed that these inaccurate stories only serve to hurt the Harry Potter fans we hope to entertain.”

Source: Hollywood

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