Gamers, journalists and influencers argued over whether to buy a highly anticipated "Harry Potter" themed video game online.
"Hogwarts Legacy," an action role-playing game set in the "Harry Potter" universe, is one of the most anticipated games of the year. Preorders for it have shot up, making it the top-selling game on download platform Steam.
But some pundits asked what the political implications of buying the game would be, accusing author J.K. Rowling of being "transphobic."
"Am I going to be able to buy Hogwarts Legacy without tacitly supporting She Who Shall Not Be Named Because She’s A Myopic TERF? Or… is this just a Chick Fil A/Hobby Lobby situation and I’m going to Obliviate that game from my memory?" MSNBC legal analyst Elie Mystal asked his over 486,000 followers on Twitter.
"TERF" is an acronym that stands for "trans-exclusionary radical feminist." In other words, Mystal accused Rowling, a proud feminist, of being opposed to the transgender movement.
But other users disagreed that buying a video game was equivalent to being discriminatory. ‘If you buy Hogwarts Legacy or like Harry Potter you're automatically a transphobe,’" Twitch streamer "The Act Man" wrote, summing up the arguments of the anti-Rowling camp.
"That's like saying if you've ever played a Blizzard game, you're automatically a fan of sexual harassment. Where tf do people come up with these scarlet brain rot takes?"
Fitness YouTuber Jay Cartere agreed with "The Act Man," tweeting that shaming other people into boycotting "Harry Potter" themed goods was a form of bullying. "It’s the only tactic in their playbook[.] Shame people and call them a "phobe" to bully people into doing what they want."
A Huffington Post reporter and LGBTQ advocate EJ Rosetta defended Rowling in a Nov. 2022 article that made waves on the internet. Rosetta concluded that there wa not a "single truly transphobic message" even after "12 weeks of reading her books, tweets" and other works.
But not everyone agreed that boycotting or supporting the new "Harry Potter" themed video game was all that important in the first place.
Joshua Sargent, a reporter who has written for the San Francisco Chronicle, told "Harry Potter" fans that a little bit of self awareness was important to keep in mind during the debate. "Reminder that you don't have to stop loving Harry Potter just because JK Rowling is a bigot. You have to stop loving Harry Potter because you are 35 years old."
Fox News' Nik Lanum and Brian Flood contributed to this report.