Did Emma Watson Just Publicly Shade JK Rowling?

JK Rowling's viewpoints on transgender people have been labeled anything from insensitive to flat-out bigoted. The "Harry Potter" author's scandal began after a series of June 2020 tweets, in which Rowling's mused, "If sex isn't real, there's no same-sex attraction. If sex isn't real, the lived reality of women globally is erased." However, this wasn't the first time Rowling seemingly aligned herself with such views. In 2018, it came out that Rowling had liked a tweet that called trans women "men in dresses," though her reps insisted afterwards that she had a "middle-aged moment," claiming she liked the tweet by accident, per PinkNews.

Soon after Rowling's 2020 controversy, the stars of the "Harry Potter" film franchise also spoke out. Responding to one of Rowling's tweeted claims, Daniel Radcliffe said in a statement on The Trevor Project website, "Transgender women are women. Any statement to the contrary ... goes against all advice given by professional health care associations who have far more expertise on this subject matter than either Jo or I." Emma Watson, meanwhile, tweeted in June 2020, "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." 

Given her history of social rights advocacy, perhaps we shouldn't be surprised Watson, two years later, just took another (probable) swipe at Rowling. 

Emma Watson seeemingly called out JK Rowling on a world stage

Emma Watson might have taken a dig at JK Rowling — verbally this time around. At the 2022 BAFTA Awards on March 13, Watson was introduced by Rebel Wilson to present an award, with Wilson calling the actor a self-described feminist, adding, "but we all know she's a witch" (per the Independent). In response, Watson said upon taking the stage, "I'm here for all the witches," emphasizing "all." 

Given Watson's winking grin, it's hard to fathom that she was referencing anything but Rowling's transgender-centric comments. Twitter seemed to agree. One applauded Watson's remark, writing, "Emma Watson is a queen for this." However, one user replied to the former, musing, "A queen does NOT *try* to throw shade on another woman. Whoever is trying to bring you down is already below you." 

Many Twitter reactions to Watson highlighted her and Rowling's relationship, with some opining that Watson lacked gratitude, as Rowling's books spawned the film franchise that made her a household name. One user snarked, "I wonder which Pizza Hut Emma Watson would be working in if it wasn't for JK Rowling." Another noted the sexism of this notion, writing, "if JK Rowling was a man, the idea that a younger woman like Emma Watson should be permanently indebted to her and reverential of her years later would accurately be described as misogynistic." Yeesh, remember the simpler days of the Harry Potter-verse?