Warner Bros.: An Open Letter to David Zaslav

David Zaslav, President and CEO of Warner Bros. Discovery, speaks onstage during a Warner Bros. Discovery Streaming Press Event at Warner Bros. Studios on April 12, 2023 in Burbank, California. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/Getty Images for HBO)

On the eve of Warner Bros. marking the studio’s 100th anniversary, it breaks my heart to read that David Zaslav wants a Harry Potter series.

I wish I was going into the anniversary by getting ready to schedule something about the studio’s anniversary. After all, 100 years is a pretty big deal. Instead, I’m taking the time, yet again, to write another open letter to Warner Bros. It’s an unfortunate trend that started with the terrible rollout of Wonder Woman 1984 back in December 2020. This time, it’s to Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav. I’m going to remember this whenever WBD writes posts something during Pride month in June. At the end of the day, anything Warner Bros. does will be performative at best. Tonight’s news is showing current leadership turning their back on their transgender audience at a time when we cannot afford any more transphobia.

Transphobic bigots should not be rewarded. We all saw what Rowling did back in 2020 and only continued to do time and time again. No amount of trying to explain her views on a platform is going to ever be enough to undo the damage she caused. The fact that John Cleese and others signed a letter in defense of Rowling’s views is what led my to no longer be a fan of Monty Python and that’s a shame. There is no defense of transphobia–not now, not ever.

The news tonight is worse than the Batgirl cancellation. Batgirl had a transgender actress in the film but we’ll never get to see her performance. Alas, we’ll never get to see it because Zaslav wanted the tax write-off. The only winner tonight, really, is Disney because talk of this series is more than enough to move the news cycle away from Dwayne Johnson and the live-action Moana remake for Disney.

Where does this bring us? Back to Harry Potter and the franchise that won’t go away. JK Rowling doesn’t need any more pennies from anyone. She doubled down almost immediately and used junk science in spouting even more transphobia. Read another book. Watch another film or series. Please, I beg of you, stop giving money to transphobic causes. Donate to organizations that are actually doing something in the fight for transgender rights. State by state is signing hateful transphobic bigotry into law right now–my home state is one of them.

The moment that this Harry Potter series goes live is the moment that I pull the plug on my HBO Max subscription because I want no part of knowingly financing transphobic bigotry. Warner Bros. Discovery is turning their back on the founding principles behind Warner Bros. in 1923. Harry Warner and Jack L. Warner were loud about fascism in the 1930s and make no mistake, they’d probably be speaking out against it today. The studio would do by better by helping transgender creatives get their projects off the ground.

I said this in 2020 and I’ll say it again: Warner Bros., please stop doing business with JK Rowling. Or let me phrase it this way: Mr. Zaslav, you don’t know me, we’ve never met. I have a fond appreciation for Warner Bros. because they gave a damn about fighting Hitler and the Nazis when no other studios would publicly do so. I’m still going to be celebrating the studio’s 100th anniversary but it breaks my heart to see you ruining what Harry, Jack, Albert, and Sam Warner built. Hate has no home here–supporting transphobic bigotry shouldn’t have a home at Warner Bros. either.

Please subscribe Solzy at the Movies on Substack.

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.