Salacious headlines are nothing new, and it seems that folks are quicker than ever to jump on a bandwagon. During a recent episode of The Problem podcast, comedian Jon Stewart spoke about his experience watching the Harry Potter movies. He was taken aback to see what seemed to be antisemitic tropes expressed in the characterization of the Gringotts goblins, who run the bank in the wizarding world.
Several publications immediately twisted Jon Stewart's words and claimed that he was accusing Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling of being antisemitic. Rowling has faced enormous backlash in recent years for spouting anti-trans sentiments, but this is a separate issue, and the media's reaction forced Stewart to feel like he had to clarify his remarks.
On the podcast, Jon jokes that while there are many fantastical elements in the wizarding world, it's very clearly Jews who run the bank. "It was one of those things where I saw it on the screen, and I was expecting the crowd to be like, 'Holy s--t!' She did not, in a wizarding world, just throw Jews in there to run the f--king underground bank," he says.
Many thought that Stewart was making a grand statement accusing J.K. Rowling of being antisemitic, but in a recent interview, Jon set the record straight. He stated that his comments were entirely comedic and that he didn't in any way, shape, or form accuse Rowling of hating Jewish people.
He posted a clip on his Twitter profile with the caption, "Newsweek et al, may eat my a--." He then went on to say that "no reasonable person" would have been able to misconstrue his riff about Harry Potter as legitimate criticism of J.K. Rowling's character.
He then went on to express his surprise at seeing a headline from Newsweek that read, "Jon Stewart accuses J.K. Rowling of antisemitism."
The former Daily Show host clarified, "Let me just say this super clearly, as clearly as I can. Hello, my name is Jon Stewart. I do not think J.K. Rowling is antisemitic. I did not accuse her of being antisemitic."
"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," Jon continued.
He then had some choice words for Newsweek: "Your business model is f--king arson. And not the good kind, not the good kind of arson where they light stuff to create forest fires and control it ... Let me tell you something, Newsweek. You used to mean something. You know what I mean? You were my go-to at the airport when the kiosk was out of Time magazine."