Emma Watson has won praise from fans following her appearance at this year’s Baftas, during which she made a subtle show of solidarity with the transgender community.
The Harry Potter star was among the celebrity presenters at Sunday night’s ceremony, with host Rebel Wilson introducing her by joking: “Here to present the next award is Emma Watson. She calls herself a feminist, but we all know she’s a witch.”
Before presenting her category, Emma then told the crowd that she is “here for all the witches”.
She quickly got the thumbs up on Twitter, with her comment being widely interpreted as a display of solidarity with trans women.
Many also picked up on the fact Emma’s remark came after Harry Potter author JK Rowling had commented on several issues relating to trans people in the days leading up the Baftas.
This included criticising Labour leader Keir Starmer, after he said that “trans women are women, and that is not just my view — that is actually the law”.
Rowling also recently voiced her opposition to a proposed amendment to the Gender Recognition Reform Bill in Scotland – which would make it easier for trans people to have their gender legally recognised – and claimed that “innumerable gay people” had told her they share her views about gender and biological sex.
— Tabby Lamb (@TheTabbyLamb) March 13, 2022
emma watson saying “i’m here for ALL of the witches” was absolutely a big 🖕🏻 to jk r*wling and i couldn’t love her more for it #BAFTAs
— emma ✨ (@emsth0ughts) March 13, 2022
Emma Watson’s “I’m here for *all* of the witches, by the way” was a giant dig at JK and I love her for it 💗 #BAFTAs
— MX W0RLD🌹 (@charlottealiced) March 13, 2022
— Jason Reid (@JasonReidUK) March 13, 2022
In recent history, JK Rowling has come under fire over remarks she’s made about the transgender community on several occasions.
Last year, she responded to an article headlined “creating a more equal post-Covid-19 world for people who menstruate”, tweeting: “‘People who menstruate.’ I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?”
Back in 2018, the Wizarding World creator sparked a backlash when she was seen “liking” a tweet referring to trans women as “men in dresses”. At the time, her rep put this down to a “clumsy” and “middle-aged mistake”.
A year later, Rowling was criticised when she spoke out in defence of Maya Forstater, who had been accused of using “offensive and exclusionary” language in a number of tweets relating to proposed changes to the Gender Recognition Act, which would allow self-identification.
She said she had “accidentally pasted in” a sentence, which appeared to have been copied from an article about transgender activist Tara Wolf.
In June 2020, while Rowling was at the centre of a backlash regarding her views about gender and biological sex, Emma tweeted: “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.
“I want my trans followers to know that I and so many other people around the world see you, respect you and love you for who you are.”
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.