“Heartstopper” Actor Controversially Joins the Cast of a New Harry Potter Game

On Wednesday, WB Games announced the voice cast for Hogwarts Legacy, an open world video game set in the Harry Potter universe, and the playable character will be voiced by Heartstopper’s Sebastian Croft.

Although Croft is best known for his role as Ben Hope in queer favorite series Heartstopper, he has been a staunch advocate for the LGBTQ+ community offscreen. In June of last year, he partnered with Rainbow Railroad on a charity t-shirt project designed to help queer refugees. The shirt features two dinosaurs kissing over the words “Queer was Always Here.” In light of all of this, his involvement in a Harry Potter property comes as a surprise to his LGBTQ+ fans.

Hogwarts Legacy was announced in September of 2020, barely a few months after JK Rowling penned her essay outlining her transphobic views. Since then, the game has been mired in controversy, with WB Games consistently downplaying Rowling’s involvement and has announced trans options in the character creator. But although Rowling is not directly involved with the game, she will earn royalties from it, something she has made a point of bragging about.

On top of all of that, the game’s lead designer, Troy Leavitt, old reactionary YouTube video channel came to light the following year and stirred up even more controversy. The channel features truly ugly thumbnails and videos full of right wing rhetoric, including charming titles like “The Injustice of Social Justice.” He left Avalanche Studios (the developer for Hogwarts Legacy) shortly afterwards, though insisting that the controversy was “not the cause.

While it’s certainly not a great look for an LGBTQ+ advocate to be involved with such a project, there are a number of factors to keep in mind. First, Hogwarts Legacy has been in development since 2017, and it is unclear when the voice acting was recorded. Additionally, publishers of big franchises have been known (at least as late as 2016) to keep voice actors in the dark on the exact project they are working on in order to prevent leaks.

But this is all guesswork in the absence of a statement. As of writing, Croft has not yet commented on his involvement in the project.

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