JOANNA Cherry has suggested that the BBC lacked “balance” in a broadcast about the new Harry Potter game Hogwarts Legacy.

The new video game, which was released on Friday, has been at the centre of a boycott controversy amid anger at JK Rowling’s views on trans rights.

Some gaming websites have refused to review the Hogwarts game altogether while IGN – one of the world’s biggest – included a 220-word “Concerning JK Rowling” disclaimer in their review which said the author’s “comments about transgender people in recent years have left a sour taste in the mouths of many current and former Potter fans, both at IGN and in the world at large”.

The National:

There have been calls for a boycott of the game (screenshot shown above) from some corners, while others have said that JK Rowling’s input on the game was minimal and shouldn’t affect anything anyway.

Looking to discuss the issue on Friday morning, BBC Radio Scotland invited two people on to give their views. One, Lee Rob, said he had bought the game while the other, writer and trans woman Carrie Marshall, gave the opposing view.

However, both guests spoke out against the “culture war against transgender people”.

Marshall initially said she hadn’t bought Hogwarts Legacy because the “Harry Potter games have got something of a reputation for being not very good”, but prompted by the host about connections to JK Rowling, she went on: “Quite a lot of LGBT+ people are concerned about the Harry Potter franchise.

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“JK Rowling has been very proud of her association with the so-called gender critical movement and some of its leading figures. She has also strongly suggested that she considers her income as proof that people share her views.

“So this has become about much, much more than the video game. To some people, this is about a culture war issue.”

Rob said that the culture war had “absolutely” come into his decision making when it came to whether or not to buy the game.

He went on: “I deplore the culture war against transgender people from leading figures in culture, in our politics. It’s disgusting what’s happening just now in our country and I did stop and think about it beforehand.

“I don’t align myself with some of the things which JK Rowling (below) has put out in recent years particularly about transgender people, but neither do I agree with her on Scottish independence.”

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Rob said it was “possible to separate the artists from the art”, adding: “For me the subject material, if it’s not problematic specifically, I don’t generally see the need to cancel art and culture on the basis that you disagree with who inspired it.”

Marshall said: “This is money that people believe very strongly is going to be used to fund the anti-trans movement … this is having a measurable effect on trans people’s lives and potentially our safety too.

“It’s not just an abstract issue about the death of the author, it’s real people’s lives. I think that’s why so many trans people are concerned about this game.”

After the segment was broadcast, SNP MP and gender critical campaigner Joanna Cherry suggested it had lacked balance.

Writing on Twitter, Cherry said: “Oh #BBCgms where is the balance in your report on @jk_rowling & gamers? There is no evidence for the allegations of transphobia against her. I believe you have [Rhona Hotchkiss] on later perhaps you could ask her about Jo’s stance on #HumanRights?”

Rhona Hotchkiss is another gender critical campaigner and former prison governor who was made a director of Beira’s Place – the JK Rowling-funded support service for women that excludes trans women.

Hogwarts Legacy was released for the latest generation of consoles – PS5, Xbox X/S, and PC – on February 10.

Further releases of the game for PS4 and Xbox One will follow in April, while Nintendo’s Switch will get its own version come July.

A BBC spokesperson said: “The discussion was around the issue of ‘separating the art from the artist’ with differing views represented.

"BBC Scotland does and will continue to cover trans and gender recognition stories across our news output featuring a wide variety of contributors.”