Jon Stewart has accused J.K. Rowling of allegedly using antisemitic caricatures in “Harry Potter.”
During an episode of his The Problem with Jon Stewart podcast, the 59-year-old comedian, who is Jewish, called out similarities between the goblin characters who run Gringotts Bank in the fantasy series with illustrations in the 1903 antisemitic book, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
“Here’s how you know Jews are still where they are. Talking to people, what I say is, have you ever seen a Harry Potter movie? And people are like ‘I love the Harry Potter movies!'” The Daily Show alum began. “I’m like, ‘You ever seen the scenes in Gringotts Bank?’ They’re like, ‘I love the scenes in Gringotts Bank!’ Like, ‘do you know what those folks that run the bank are?’ And they’re like, ‘what?’ and then like I’m like ‘Jews.’
“Let me show you this, it’s from The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, 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, that’s a caricature of a Jew from an antisemitic piece of literature.’ J.K. Rowling was like, ‘Can we get these guys to run our bank?'”
The comedian joked that the author could imagine a world with dragons and pet owls, “but who should run the bank? Jews.” He said that when he saw the films he expected audiences to pick up on the author’s choice to “just throw Jews in there to run the f**king underground bank”.
Fellow comedian Sarah Silverman, who is also Jewish, responded to the now-viral clip on Twitter, writing, “I’ve actually never seen Harry Potter and after watching the below and then seeing the clip in the thread I am just kind of stunned. You know when you giggle but it’s really more fear than joy?”
Update: “Jon Stewart clarifies comments he made about depiction of goblins in ‘Harry Potter”
“There is no reasonable person that could have watched it and not seen it as a lighthearted conversation amongst colleagues and chums … enjoying ourselves about Harry Potter, and my experience watching it for the first time in a theater as a Jewish guy, and how some tropes are so embedded in society that they’re basically invisible even in a considered process like moviemaking,” he said in a video, which he tweeted Wednesday.
“I cannot stress this enough,” he said. “I’m 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.”
I”n the podcast episode, he drew a comparison between the goblins that work at Gringotts Wizarding Bank and illustrations featured in “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” which is widely considered antisemitic.”
“Here’s how you know Jews are still where they are,” Stewart said in the podcast. “Talking to people, here’s what I say: Have you ever seen a ‘Harry Potter’ movie? Have you ever seen the scenes in Gringotts Bank? Do you know what those folks who run the bank are? Jews! And they’re like, ‘Oh, from ‘Harry Potter!’” And you’re like, ‘No, that’s a caricature of a Jew from an antisemitic piece of literature.’”
– Cover Media