Quidditch, a fictional, fast-paced sport played on broomsticks invented by Rowling for her bestselling novels and further popularized by the Warner Bros. series of films, has found acceptance as a real life sport (largely played on poles rather than brooms). However, last week, associations U.S. Quidditch and Major League Quidditch began the process of changing the name of the sport. Rowling’s trans comments and the fact that the name quidditch is trademarked by Warner Bros. led to this decision. British association U.K. Quidditch followed suit.
The leagues will conduct a series of surveys over the next few months to arrive at a new name for the sport.
“As the game has grown, the name ‘quidditch,’ which is trademarked by Warner Bros., has limited the sport’s expansion, including but not limited to sponsorship and broadcast opportunities. Both leagues expect that this name change will allow for new and exciting developments for our players, fans and volunteers as the sport continues to grow,” U.S. Quidditch and Major League Quidditch said in a joint statement.
“Additionally, the leagues are hoping a name change can help them continue to distance themselves from the works of J.K. Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter book series, who has increasingly come under scrutiny for her anti-trans positions in recent years,” the statement added. “Our sport has developed a reputation as one of the most progressive sports in the world on gender equality and inclusivity, in part thanks to its gender maximum rule, which stipulates that a team may not have more than four players of the same gender on the field at a time. Both organizations feel it is imperative to live up to this reputation in all aspects of their operations and believe this move is a step in that direction.”
U.K. Quidditch noted that the sport is growing beyond Harry Potter and the wider franchise, and a name change would allow for growth, sponsorship and expansion.
“Distancing ourselves from J.K Rowling will cement the sport and community as the inclusive space it already is. Since our inception the inclusion of all persons, regardless of race, sex, gender identity, or background has been a cornerstone of our sport,” said a statement from U.K. Quidditch. “We cannot continue to call ourselves quidditch and be associated with J.K Rowling while she continues to make damaging and hateful comments against the many transgender athletes, staff and volunteers who call this sporting community home.”
Rowling began sharing her controversial views on the trans community in June 2020.
On Dec. 12, Rowling shared an article from The Times U.K. on police logging rapes committed by offenders with male genitalia if the attacker identifies as female.
War is Peace.
Freedom is Slavery.
Ignorance is Strength.
The Penised Individual Who Raped You Is a Woman.https://t.co/SyxFnnboM1
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) December 12, 2021
A spokesperson from Rowling’s representation, The Blair Partnership, said: “The Quidditch Premier League, U.S. Quidditch and Major League Quidditch have never been endorsed or licensed by J.K. Rowling.”
Variety understands from sources that Rowling has plans for quidditch aficionados to express their fandom and love of the sport.
The news about the quidditch associations changing names was first reported by The Times.