CAN art ever truly be separated from the artist? It’s a question that has surfaced again and again over the past decade – particularly as social media and up-to-the-minute news cycles have given us previously unparalleled access to the passing thoughts and whims of the rich and influential.

The debate over viewing the created as a wholly separate beast to the creator will likely rumble on for years still, but I also believe it to be fundamentally the wrong question.

A more pragmatic response to your fave celeb ending up on the shitlist would be asking yourself: Am I, in one way or another, contributing to the wealth and power of people who will use it to cause material harm to the world? And if so, can I realistically do anything about it?

READ MORE: Ellie Gomersall: Scottish independence is no utopia – but UK is toxic

There may be no ethical consumption under capitalism, but that isn’t permission to act with total impunity. Rather, it behoves us to do our best under a system that makes it functionally impossible to live without crossing moral boundaries.

We can all accept that practical appliances which give us access to the modern world – phones, computers, etc – are composed of components whose origins can be deeply problematic. But we still, ultimately, need to use them even while we may campaign for better ethical standards in how they are produced.

Which is quite different from choosing to eat at Chick-fil-A, whose charitable foundation funnelled large sums into anti-LGBT organisations, when there was a perfectly fine alternative to go to next door.

Anyway, this is an article about the video game Hogwart’s Legacy and the backlash against it. For those outwith the loop, Portkey Games’s Hogwart’s Legacy is a new video game set in JK Rowling’s magical wizarding world.

The National: MSP who quit the Scottish Government is a heroine, JK Rowling says

There’s no denying the cultural impact of Rowling’s writing around the globe, both in terms of the jaw-dropping riches it has brought its author, and in the tortured Harry Potter analogies jammed into every major political conflict of the past 20 years.

More recently, however, it is Rowling’s antagonism toward transgender people that has most come to define her contemporary public image. It is my opinion that her platform and influence have undoubtedly played a role in rising intolerance toward the LGBTQ+ community, with a Republican Senator in the US explicitly citing her comments as justification for blocking civil rights legislation.

The anti-trans “gender-critical” movement views her as something of a hero, with signs proclaiming love and admiration for the author as likely to be spotted at demos and rallies as calls to “stop the gaystapo” and banners for the Scottish Family Party.

And while some rightly challenge the inclusion of the far-right within the gender critical movement, a louder and more significant contingent have warmly embraced – or at best, passively tolerated – those who would bring an end to reproductive healthcare and LGBTQ+ equality in a heartbeat.

READ MORE: BBC JK Rowling and Hogwarts Legacy debate criticised by SNP MP

It truly is a puzzle that a movement that purports to be pro-woman continues to attract far-right figures and anti-feminist reactionaries.

And for any who disagree, as you are welcome to do so, I would ask you to reflect on why said figures continue to feel welcome enough to show up to high profile anti-trans rallies. This isn’t entryism – some in the gender-critical movement have lifted verbatim from the rhetoric and strategies of right-wing evangelicals who have long held that separating the T from LGB was the first step to wiping out equalities legislation altogether.

Rowling’s role and impact in this debate has only emboldened those who have found in her writing and social media a justification for their bigotry, cloaked in the language of liberalism.

The hostile environment built brick by brick by the rhetoric that Rowling uses has real-world consequences; from Rowling’s friend, the Tory Baroness Nicholson, attacking Pride-coloured road crossings for supposedly causing migraines (spoiler: experts say that’s nonsense), to fascist organisations such as Patriotic Alternative mobbing a drag queen story event in London on Saturday.

And so we circle back to the question: Can I play the wizard game without contributing, in some way, to all of that? Unfortunately, not really. Not if your decision to buy the game tells developers that they can continue making a ludicrous profit off of a tainted franchise, and certainly not if your money goes, through royalties, to the person responsible while bestowing upon them further social capital.

It might not be an endorsement of the views being shared, but it is at the very latest a statement that those views are irrelevant to you.

A lot of words have already been written that cast transgender people as violent bullies attacking anyone who plays the game, but the reality is that we are a marginalised community asking people who likely view themselves as allies to not contribute to the cultural power and wealth of someone who wields it against us.

And the response to that has been folk getting upset at the revelation that being an ally means more than just calling yourself one.

Buy the game. Don’t buy the game. You’re free to do as you please, as we are free to ask that you don’t support someone opposed to our existence – and note how quickly the offer of allyship is withdrawn when it comes to more than just words.