Jon Stewart has hit back at his claim that JK Rowling was anti-Semitic for her portrayal of the goblin in Harry Potter and now claims he was just “light-hearted”.
The former host of The Daily Show, who is Jewish, complained that Rowling’s ghostly characters who run Gringotts Bank were based on caricatures of Jews, a notorious anti-Semitic text, The Protocol of the Elders of Zion. From, which is to show a Jew. world domination plan.
“Here’s how you know the Jews are still where they are,” Stewart said in a December 16 episode of his podcast, The Problem with Jon Stewart. ‘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, it’s a caricature of a Jew from anti-Semitic literature.” JK Rowling was like, “Can we get these guys to run our bank?”
He also questioned why Rowling decided to run a ‘f***ing underground bank to throw the Jews there’ in a fictional world where people could ‘ride dragons and have pet owls.’ He was referring to the book and film series, the fictional Gringotts Bank, which has a staff of goblins.
Stewart’s comments made headlines and sparked backlash from Potter fans, as well as from a Jewish community, who pointed out that the author was a vocal opponent of anti-Semitism and was ‘very supportive’ of the religious community.
As the outrage grew, Stewart, 59, backed down from her claims and aggressively attacked the news outlets covering the story, asking them to ‘catch up’.
Jon Stewart (pictured Wednesday), who recently slammed J.K. Rowling over the goblin running Gringotts Bank in the Harry Potter film series, says he didn’t actually accuse the author of being anti-Semitic and called people’ Need to get f***ing grip’
Stewart attempted to end the drama surrounding his comments in a video shared on Twitter on Wednesday, saying, “I can’t stress this enough — I’m not accusing JK Rowling of being anti-Semitic. “
‘He doesn’t need to answer any of this. I don’t want the Harry Potter movies to be censored in any way. It was a light conversation. Get hold of s***ing!’
Stewart said he liked the Harry Potter movies and was ‘not accusing JK Rowling (pictured) of being anti-Semitic’
Comedian now claims ‘No ‘reasonable person’ would have heard those comments and assumed they were serious.
‘There is no reasonable person who can see this and not see it as a light-hearted conversation between coworkers and friends, laughing, enjoying himself about Harry Potter – as a Jew My experience of seeing it in theaters for the first time, man, and how some tropes that are so embedded in society are basically invisible even in a process like making a movie,’ Stewart said on Wednesday.
‘We did it a month ago, like two COVID mutations ago, when we were still in the beta world or wherever we were, it was a month ago. I woke up this morning and it’s trending on Twitter and here’s the headline of Newsweek: “Jon Stewart Accuses JK Rowling of Anti-Semitism”.
He continued: ‘Let me say this as clearly as I can. My name is Jon Stewart. I don’t think JK Rowling is anti-Semitic. I didn’t accuse him of being anti-Semitic. None of this is true.’
Stewart portrayed the goblin as an obvious anti-Semitic trope, and questioned why more people didn’t (the picture is a still from the first Harry Potter film).
Comedians now claim that ‘no reasonable person’ may have heard those comments and assumed they were serious (Picture: a ghost from the first Harry Potter film)
The podcaster claims to ‘love the Harry Potter movies’ and says Rowling’s allegations of Semitic are ‘bonkers’.
‘I have to address it. It’s bonkers, guys,’ he said in his social media video. ‘I don’t think JK Rowling is anti-Semitic. I didn’t accuse him of being anti-Semitic. I don’t think the Harry Potter movies are anti-Semitic.
He continued: ‘I really like the Harry Potter movies, probably too much for a gentleman my age.’
Stewart then slammed Newsweek, calling their business model ‘f***ing arson’ and part of the problem with the media.
“I want to tell Newsweek that your business model is arson, not good quality,” he said.
‘This kind of arson where you’re on a mountain and you have five minutes and you don’t know where the dogs are. That’s your business model and all the sh**heads are ridiculously out of context crap now that you’re out there.’
Stewart slammed Newsweek – who published an article alleging she called Rowling anti-Semitic – calling her business model ‘f***ing arson’ (Picture: Tweet Stewart posted on Wednesday)
Stewart (centre pictured in a social media video) reiterated Wednesday: ‘Let me say it as clearly as I can. My name is Jon Stewart. I don’t think JK Rowling is anti-Semitic. I didn’t accuse him of being anti-Semitic. None of these are true’
The podcaster’s ‘catchy’ comment prompted a reaction from fans and members of the Jewish community.
Comedian Sarah Silverman was one of the first to weigh in on the controversy, though she said she had not read books or watched movies.
‘I’m shocked to see the clip below and then to see the thread. You know when you laugh, but it’s really more fear than joy?’ he wrote on Twitter.
Dave Rich, director of policy at Jewish charity The Community Security Trust, told MailOnline that Rowling was “very supportive” of the Jewish community.
He said: ‘JK Rowling has been very supportive of the Jewish community in recent years and has repeatedly tweeted against anti-Semitism, so it is hard to imagine that she used anti-Semitic caricatures in her books. Sometimes a ghost is just a ghost.’
Fans also defended the author, suggesting that his portrayal of the goblin was typical of the fantasy genre, a description similar to the likes of JRR Tolkien and Terry Pratchett (Picture: Goblins as seen in The Lord of the Rings films)
Jewish fans were also quick to note that the author has consistently invoked anti-Semitism in recent years.
Comedian David Baddiel also went on to say: ‘The ghosts in Harry Potter are to be viewed not in a simple #teamRowling versus #antiteamRowling way, but within a cultural context embedded in several centuries long, deeply subconsciously.’
Writer and literary expert Nicholas Zuber told MailOnline: ‘It appears that Rowling has followed the traditions in British fantasy literature. The Old German word, ‘kobold’ gave us the word ‘cobalt’, indicating the association of these organisms with the mining of precious ores. So it makes sense that the goblins would be linked to the vault and underground storage.’
Jewish fans were quick to note that Rowling has consistently invoked anti-Semitism in recent years; As a frequent critic of Jeremy Corbyn during the leadership of the Labor Party and when he refused to join the cultural boycott of Israel.
Fans also suggested that his portrayal of the goblin was typical of the fantasy genre, using descriptions similar to those of the likes of JRR Tolkien and Terry Pratchett.
Fans took to social media to defend the author
One said Wednesday: ‘Goblins were described and depicted in the same way decades before Rowling. So if those activists have a problem with how ghosts are portrayed – they should quash the fictional books and myths that already exist.’
Another addition: ‘You have to target all the fantasy writers like Tolkien and artists who have portrayed goblins in the exact same light since the 19th century.
‘In most fantasy and children’s writings he is almost always portrayed as mean, gold hoarders and jewelers with similar characteristics.’
Others noted that Rowling’s original sketch of the goblin was quite different from the film depiction of the creatures, behind which Warner Bros.