A popular food YouTuber is in hot water with fans after posting a Hogwarts Legacy-sponsored video. The video game has divided gamers and Harry Potter fans since its release, because of the association with the anti-trans views of Harry Potter‘s author, J.K. Rowling.
Andrew Rea, who goes by Babish on his channel Binging with Babish, built his subscriber base of 10 million followers by recreating dishes and meals from popular culture. His most popular videos include making the ratatouille from Ratatouille, the Krabby Supreme from Spongebob and Jake’s perfect sandwich from Adventure Time.
The video that has fans up in arms is a new Harry Potter-adjacent English breakfast that begins and ends with ads for Hogwarts Legacy. As is the case with many ads on the platform, YouTubers don’t necessarily always have control over what plays before their video starts, but in this case, Babish is shown reading a script for the video game.
The comments on the video are mostly positive and focused on the breakfast, and that is rumored to be because moderators have deleted negative comments about the ads. But on Instagram, Twitter and Reddit, former Babish fans have said they are “heartbroken” by the decision.
The argument against Hogwarts Legacy has been that people don’t want in any way to support or endorse J.K. Rowling, who has been vocal about her anti-trans beliefs. Actors from the Harry Potter movie series, including Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson, have all publicly stated that they do not agree with or support Rowling’s views.
While Rowling was not involved with the creation or development of Hogwarts Legacy, she owns the rights to Harry Potter intellectual property, which means she will profit from sales of the video game.
Babish fans are also pointing out that Babish, whose estimated net worth is somewhere between $5.5 million and $7.8 million, did not need the Hogwarts Legacy ad money. They argue that Babish’s decision to accept the deal and promote the game to his millions of viewers indirectly helps Rowling continue to publicize her anti-trans views.
As of reporting time, Babish has not publicly commented on the backlash, but has since uploaded two new YouTube videos.
If you or someone you know needs support after experiencing anti-trans violence or bias, contact a trans-identified counselor through the Trans Lifeline at 877-565-8860. You can also contact the Anti-Violence Project at 212-714-1141, or connect with a Crisis Text Line counselor at no charge by texting the word “HOME” to 741741. Find a local therapist well-versed in trans identity and liberation through the Inclusive Therapists directory.
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