Jon Stewart clarifies remarks about J.K. Rowling and the ‘Harry Potter’ films

jon stewart harry potter

Jon Stewart responds to press coverage of his comments on the “Harry Potter” movies.

After an article appeared on Newsweek.com headlined, “Jon Stewart Accuses J.K. Rowling of Antisemitism in ‘Harry Potter,’ “ and many other media outlets picked up the story as well, Stewart denied that’s what he was doing in his “The Problem With Jon Stewart” podcast, in December.

You can listen to what he said in December, in its entirety, in the first video below (skip to the 50-second mark for the relevant discussion).

He does say that the miserly Goblins who work at the Gringotts Bank in the “Harry Potter” films look stereotypically Jewish. And Newsweek quoted him accurately as saying (at the 2:35 mark of the video), “It was one of those things where I saw it on the screen and I was expecting the crowd to be like ‘Holy shit. She did not, in a wizarding world, just throw Jews in there to run the fucking underground bank.’ ”

But in a video posted today on his Twitter page with the written message, “Newsweek et al, may eat my ass,” Stewart clarified his remarks. (You can watch that video below, as well.)

Stewart says, in the new video: “This is bonkers … There is no reasonable person who could have watched (the podcast) and not seen it as a lighthearted conversation amongst colleagues and chums … enjoying ourselves about ‘Harry Potter’ and my experience watching it for the first time, in a theater, as a Jewish guy, and how some tropes are so embedded in society that they’re basically invisible, even in a considered process like movie-making …

“This morning I wake up. It’s trending on Twitter, and here’s the headline from Newsweek: ‘Jon Stewart Accuses J.K. Rowling … of Anti-Semitism.’ So let me just say this, super-clearly … I do not think J.K Rowling is anti-Semitic. I did not accuse her of being anti-Semitic. I do not think that the ‘Harry Potter’ movies are anti-Semitic. I really love the ‘Harry Potter’ movies … I would just like to say that none of that is true and … a reasonable person could not have looked at that conversation and not found it lighthearted.”

Stewart goes on to say some nasty, funny things about Newsweek and the media in general.

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