MCM London Comic Con Cancels ‘Harry Potter And The Cursed Child’ Stage Play Panel Over “Concerns” From UK LGBT Charity Switchboard
In the latest instance of what at this point has become an expected occurrence whenever the franchise runs aground of such neoliberal activists, the upcoming MCM Comic Con in London has cancelled a planned Harry Potter and The Cursed Child panel after local LGBT charity Switchboard voiced concerns about its “potential impact on our community, particularly trans individuals”.
Originally slated to take place on the second day of the UK-based event’s October 27th-29th schedule, the panel in question was set to see various members of the Harry Potter and The Cursed Child stage play’s production team speak with audience members about their experiences in developing J.K. Rowling’s original story for the theatrical stage.
“Wizzo!” began the panel’s official program description, as revealed on September 13th, the word itself a sort of ‘rallying cry’ for The Cursed Child‘s fanbase. “Join members of the theatre show’s creative team as they discuss what it was like to bring Harry Potter to the stage 19 years after the Battle of Hogwarts.”
Founded in 1974, Switchboard’s primary function is providing LGBT-related information and support, such as basic sexual hygiene tips, advice from peers on how to understand one’s situation, and leads on how to connect with other public LGBT-friendly groups “on the phone, and through our email and instant messaging services, to people from across the UK.”
Seeking to show their support to the many LGBT individuals who would undoubtedly be attending MCM London, the charity had announced just five days earlier that they would be hosting “[MCM London] Comic Con’s first ever Pride Lounge!”
“Come by to say hi to our incredible volunteers, pick up a free pronoun badge and enjoy a quiet space away from the main convention to rest and reflect!” declared Switchboard in their reveal of the lounge.
In light of The Cursed Child panel – which they opposed based on their disagreement with Rowling’s belief that while transgender individuals exist, the biological realities of their existence must be acknowledged rather than ignored in order to look out for the well-being of both themselves and women – being publicly announced following their agreement to host the aforementioned Pride Lounge, Switchboard took to their public Twitter account on September 14th to inform their followers, “Switchboard was unaware until the post yesterday that this panel was taking place at this year’s Comic Con in London. We have since reached out to MCM to speak to them about this.”
Roughly a week later, the UK comic-con would announce via the story function of their Facebook and Instagram accounts that “Following discussions between MCM Comic Con and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, a joint decision has been taken for the production not run the proposed panel on 28 October.”
“The aim of the panel was to hear from the production team working behind the scenes,” the event added. “Thank you for understanding.”
In their own statement regarding the panel’s cancellation, Switchboard asserted, “When we agreed to host a Pride Lounge at this year’s MCM London Comic Con we did so with the aim of connecting with their diverse fan community. However, at that time we were unaware of their plans to feature any panels using the Harry Potter IP. Upon learning this, we felt compelled to express our concerns about the potential impact on our community, particularly trans individuals.”
“We have since been in conversation with the event organisers at MCM London Comic Con and are pleased to report that they have been receptive to our concerns,” the charity explained. ” In response to these conversations and feedback from their fans, as well as their expressed commitment to fostering a safe and inclusive environment, the panel has been cancelled.”
“Switchboard will continue with our plans to host the Pride Lounge at MCM London Comic Con,” the group concluded. “Our Pride Lounge aims to serve as a sanctuary where members of the LGBTQIA+ community and allies can find a quiet space, connect with one another, and recharge during the event.”