Jon Stewart, who recently slammed J.K. Rowling over goblins that run Gringotts bank in her Harry Potter film series, says he didn’t actually accuse the author of being anti-Semitic and that people need to ‘get a f***ing grip’.
‘I cannot stress this enough — I am not accusing J.K. Rowling of being anti-Semitic,’ Stewart said in a video shared to Twitter Wednesday attempting to put an end to the drama surrounding his comments.
‘She need not answer to any of it. I don’t want the Harry Potter movies censored in any way. It was a lighthearted conversation. Get a f***ing grip!’
The former host of The Daily Show raised the issue on the December 16 episode of his podcast, The Problem with Jon Stewart.
Stewart, who is Jewish, questioned why Rowling chose to ‘throw Jews in there to run the f***ing underground bank’ in a fictional world where people ‘can ride dragons and have pet owls.’ He was referring to the book and movie series’ fictional Gringotts Bank, which is staffed by Goblins.
However, Potter fans quickly jumped to the author’s defense, pointing out her recent criticisms of ant-Semitism. A Jewish charity also claimed Rowling was ‘very supportive’ of the religious community.
Jon Stewart (pictured Wednesday), who recently slammed J.K. Rowling over goblins that run Gringotts bank in her Harry Potter film series, says he didn’t actually accuse the author of being anti-Semitic and that people need to ‘get a f***ing grip’
On Wednesday, Stewart attempted to clarify his remarks which he alleged were part of a ‘lighthearted conversation’.
The podcaster claimed to ‘love the Harry Potter movies’ and said the accusations that Rowling is Semitic are ‘bonkers’.
‘I have to address this. This is bonkers, guys,’ he said in his social media video. ‘I do not think J.K. Rowling is anti-Semitic. I did not accuse her of being anti-Semitic. I do not think the Harry Potter movies are anti-Semitic.’
He added: ‘I really love the Harry Potter movies, probably too much for a gentleman of my considerable age.’
Stewart said he loves the Harry Potter films and is ‘not accusing J.K. Rowling (pictured) of being anti-Semitic’
Stewart, 59, said last month the banker goblin characters were based on caricatures of Jews from The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, an infamous anti-semitic text that purports to show a Jewish plan for world domination.
‘Here’s how you know Jews are still where they are,’ Stewart said in the episode before bemoaning how those who he’s spoken to have been reluctant to acknowledge the resemblance.
‘I just want to show you a caricature. And they’re like, “Oh, look at that, that’s from Harry Potter!” And you’re like, “No, that’s a caricature of a Jew from an antisemitic piece of literature.” J.K. Rowling was like, “Can we get these guys to run our bank?”‘
When he first saw the Harry Potter films, Stewart said he expected other theater patrons to ‘be like “h*** shit, she did not, in a wizarding world, to just throw Jews in there to run the f***ing underground bank.” And everybody was just like “Wizards.”‘
The comedian now claims ‘no reasonable person’ would have heard those comments and assumed they were serious.
‘There is no reasonable person that could’ve watched it and not seen it as a lighthearted conversation between colleagues and chums, having a larf, enjoying ourselves about Harry Potter — my experience watching it for the first time in a theater as a Jewish guy, and how some tropes that are so embedded in society that they’re basically invisible even in a considered process like movie making,’ Stewart said Wednesday.
Stewart characterized the goblins as an obvious anti-Semitic trope, and questioned why more people haven’t done the same (Pictured is a movie still from the first Harry Potter film)
The comedian now claims ‘ no reasonable person’ would have heard those comments and assumed they were serious (Pictured: A goblin from the first Harry Potter film)
‘We did this a month ago, like two COVID mutations ago, back when we were still in Beta world or wherever we were, this was a month ago. This morning I wake up and it’s trending on Twitter and here’s the headline from Newsweek: “Jon Stewart accuses J.K. Rowling of anti-Semitism”‘.
He continued: ‘Let me say this as clearly as I can. My name is Jon Stewart. I do not think J.K. Rowling is anti-Semitic. I did not accuse her of being anti-Semitic. None of that is true.’
Stewart then slammed Newsweek, calling their business model ‘f***ing arson’ and part of the problem with the media.
‘Let me say this to Newsweek – Your business model is f***ing arson and not the good kind,’ he said.
‘The kind of arson where you’re on the mountain and you’ve got f***ing five minutes and you don’t know where the dogs are. That’s your business model and now all the sh**heads ridiculously out of context nonsense that you out out there.’
Stewart slammed Newsweek – who published an article alleging he called Rowling anti-Semitic – called their their business model ‘f***ing arson’ (Pictured: Tweet Stewart posted Wednesday)
Stewart (center, pictured in the social media video) reiterated Wednesday: ‘Let me say this as clearly as I can. My name is Jon Stewart. I do not think J.K. Rowling is anti-Semitic. I did not accuse her of being anti-Semitic. None of that is true’
The podcaster’s ‘lighthearted’ remarks prompted response from fans and members of the Jewish community.
Comedian Sarah Silverman was one of the first to weigh in on the controversy, although she said she hadn’t read the books or seen the films.
‘After watching the below and then seeing the clip in the thread I am just kind of stunned. You know when you giggle but it’s really more fear than joy?’ she wrote on Twitter.
Dave Rich, director of policy at Jewish charity the Community Security Trust, told MailOnline that Rowling had been ‘very supportive’ of the Jewish community.
He said: ‘JK Rowling has been very supportive of the Jewish community in recent years and tweeted repeatedly against antisemitism, so it is hard to imagine that she used anti-semitic caricatures in her books. Sometimes a goblin is just a goblin.’
Fans also defended the author, suggesting that her depiction of the goblins was typical of the fantasy genre, with the likes of JRR Tolkien and Terry Pratchett making similar descriptions (Pictured: Goblins as seen in The Lord of The Rings films)
Jewish fans were also quick to note that the author constantly called out anti-Semitism in recent years
Comedian David Baddiel also waded in, adding: ‘The goblins in Harry Potter need to be seen not in a simplistic #teamRowling vs #antiteamRowling way but in a many-centuries long, deeply subconsciously embedded cultural context.’
Author and literature expert Nicholas Jubber told MailOnline: ‘Rowling appears to have followed traditions in British fantasy literature. The old German word, ‘kobold’, gave us the word ‘cobalt’, signaling the association of these creatures with mining for precious ores. So it makes sense that goblins would be linked with vaults and underground storage.’
Jewish fans were quick to note that Rowling has consistently called out anti-Semitism in recent years; including as a frequent critic of Jeremy Corbyn during his leadership of the Labour Party and when she refused to join a cultural boycott of Israel.
Fans also suggested her depiction of the goblins was typical of the fantasy genre, with the likes of JRR Tolkien and Terry Pratchett using similar descriptions.
Fans took to social media to defend the author
One said Wednesday: ‘Goblins were described and depicted like that decades before Rowling. So if those activists have problems with how goblins are depicted – they should cancel fantasy books and mythos that existed before.’
Another added: ‘You would have to tar all fantasy writers such as Tolkien and artists, who have portrayed goblins in exactly the same light since the 19th Century.
‘In most fantasy and children’s writings they are almost always portrayed as mean, hoarders of gold and jewels with the same features.’
Others noted that Rowling’s original sketch of goblins was significantly different to the movie depiction of the creatures, which Warner Brothers are behind.