Twitter is divided as Emma Watson's BAFTA comment goes viral 

Fans were quick to link her words to comments made by J.K. Rowling about trans rights

(Image credit: AFP via Getty Images)

Fans were quick to link her words to comments made by J.K. Rowling about trans rights

This year’s BAFTA Awards ceremony was as eventful as ever, with host Rebel Wilson opening the evening with jokes about her weight loss, a virtual appearance from Prince William and plenty of noteworthy red carpet looks

However, two days after the event there is one moment from the ceremony that people can’t stop talking about. 

"Our next presenter is Emma Watson," said Rebel Wilson as she welcomed the Harry Potter star onstage to present the award for Best Outstanding British Film. "She's proud to call herself a feminist, but we all know she's a witch."

Once standing at the podium, and with a knowing smile, Emma replied: "I'm here for all of the witches." 

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Many have taken Emma’s comment to be a message of support for trans rights. Her words were greeted with scattered cheers from the audience, while people on Twitter quickly suggested that Emma was deliberately throwing shade on J.K. Rowling. 

The Harry Potter author’s views on trans rights have been under scrutiny since 2020, when she first expressed her view that trans women aren't women on Twitter. 

At the time, various Harry Potter cast members made their own statements in response, including Emma Watson. She said: "Trans people are who they say they are and deserve to live their lives without being constantly questioned or told they aren’t who they say they are. I want my trans followers to know that I and so many other people around the world see you, respect you and love you for who you are."

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Rowling’s controversial views have made headlines again recently after she commented on Scotland's Gender Recognition Reform Bill. The new legislation makes it easier for people in Scotland to change the sex listed on their birth certificate. According to Rowling, this will create "likely negative consequences” for women and girls.

Since Sunday's ceremony, many have spoken out in defence of Rowling, with one tweeter commenting that Emma should “have a chat with the woman who gave her a lucrative career, rather than publicly making snide remarks for likes. She might find the world’s best-selling author has some wisdom to impart.”

Another person commented: “Emma Watson is NO queen. A queen does NOT *try* to throw shade on another woman. Whoever is trying to bring you down is already below you...and Watson has sunk so far below JK Rowling's horizon, the sun has set. #IStandWithJKRowling #JKRowlingSpeaksForMe”.

J.K. Rowling - Marie Claire

J.K. Rowling with Harry Potter cast members at the 2011 BAFTA Awards.
(Image credit: Rex Features)

However, many others have praised Emma for standing up for the trans community, with several arguing that she is not indebted to Rowling for her success.

“Just to be clear: the person most responsible for Emma Watson's successful career is Emma Watson,” wrote on tweeter. 

Another user commented: “Pretty funny to see all these self-proclaimed “feminists” saying that Emma Watson, a grown woman, shouldn’t be able to speak her mind because she “owes” all her professional accomplishments to someone she worked for over 11 years ago.” 

The debate will no doubt continue.

Kate Hollowood
Kate Hollowood is a freelance journalist and writes about a range of topics for Marie Claire UK, from reports on royal news and current affairs to features on health, careers and relationships. Based in London, Kate has also written for titles like the i paper, Refinery29, Cosmopolitan and It’s Nice That.