Former US talk show host Jon Stewart has accused JK Rowling of using “anti-Semitic” imagery in the film Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.
The comedian said it was “so weird” that people had not reacted to the “Jews” running the underground wizarding bank Gringotts.
It comes as the world-famous writer faces further backlash for her views on transgender rights.
Stewart discussed the scenes set in the magical bank, run by goblins, on the podcast The Problem with Jon Stewart.
“Talking to people, here’s what I say, ‘Have you ever seen a Harry Potter movie? Have you ever seen the scenes in Gringotts Bank?’” he said.
“’Do you know what those folks who run the bank are? Jews!’
“Let me show this – it’s the protocols of the Elders of Zion, I just want to show you a caricature, and they’re like, ‘Oh, that’s from ‘Harry Potter.’
“And you’re like, ‘No, that’s a caricature of a Jew from an anti-Semitic piece of literature.’
“JK Rowling was like, ‘Can we get these guys to run our bank?’
“It’s a wizarding world…we can ride dragons, you can have a pet owl… but who should run the bank? Jews.”
Describing watching the film in the cinema he added: “It was one of those things where I saw it on the screen and I was expecting the crowd to be like, ‘Holy s**t, (Rowling) did not, in a wizarding world, just throw Jews in there to run the f*****g underground bank.’
“And everybody was just like, ‘Wizards’. It was so weird.”
Rowling was featured in a recent 20th anniversary Harry Potter reunion special, but only in archive video clips.
Since the films were released the author has become a controversial figure over her comments on gender identity and attracted criticism from many, including franchise stars Emma Watson and Daniel Radcliffe.
Representatives for Rowling said the author would not be commenting on Stewart’s remarks.