Jon Stewart during an episode of his podcast “The Problem with Jon Stewart” on Jan. 5, 2022. Photo: Screenshot.
American political commentator and former “Daily Show” host Jon Stewart released a new video on Wednesday clarifying comments he made last month about the portrayal of goblins in J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter” series.
Stewart compared the depiction of goblins who run the bank in the popular fantasy series to the offensive caricatures of Jews in the infamous antisemitic text “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion” during an episode in December of his podcast “The Problem with Jon Stewart.”
Jewish groups came to Rowling’s defense, insisting that the British author had not employed antisemitic caricatures. Stewart, however, said this week he had not accused Rowling of antisemitism and that his comments about the goblins were taken “ridiculously out of context.”
“I do not think J.K. Rowling is antisemitic. I did not accuse her of being antisemitic,” Stewart, who is Jewish, said. “I do not think that the ‘Harry Potter’ movies are antisemitic. I really love the ‘Harry Potter’ movies, probably too much for a gentleman of my considerable age.”
Stewart described his discussion about the “Harry Potter” goblins last month as “a lighthearted conversation amongst colleagues and chums having a laugh and enjoying ourselves” while Stewart talked about his experience as a Jewish person watching the “Harry Potter” movies for the first time. The podcast host said he mentioned the appearance of the goblins to show “how some tropes are so embedded in society that they’re basically invisible, even in a considered process like movie-making.”
He continued, “I cannot stress this enough. I am not accusing J.K. Rowling of being antisemitic. 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**king grip.”
“Nobody’s saying anything out of anger or accusation,” Stewart said. “I thought it was f**king hilarious. And it just arose out of nowhere. It makes you not want to say anything.”