Ripple, the crypto payments service, may have scored a key victory earlier this summer against the SEC. But now, one of the company’s top directors is facing a far more daunting enemy, all on her own: a unified coalition of three highly disgruntled Hogwarts professors.
Sendi Young, Ripple’s managing director for the UK and Europe, recently embarked on a seemingly simple mission to tear down and remodel her 1960s one-story home in the Victorian-lined London neighborhood of West Hampstead, according to a report from the Camden New Journal.
The plan, however, has sparked an elaborate opposition campaign from Young’s next-door neighbors—namely “Harry Potter” film franchise actors Emma Thompson (Professor Trelawney), Imelda Staunton (Professor Umbridge), and Jim Broadbent (Professor Slughorn), according to recently disclosed council planning documents.
Though the complaints lodged by the A-list British actors and their spouses against the housing plan run the gamut, they tend to center on a particular displeasure with the house’s proposed boxy and modern design.
“It would fit perfectly in Malibu, but not in our Conservation Area,” Thompson wrote in a letter to the overseeing Camden Council penned with her husband, Greg Wise, who is an architect.
Staunton, in a four-page letter co-signed by her husband Jim Carter, who played butler Mr. Carson on the British series “Downton Abbey,” derided the house’s proposed design as “totally inappropriate,” particularly taking issue with its “uncompromising and stark” use of metal.
“The gray aluminum cladding is more in keeping with a light industrial estate than a Conservation Area of Edwardian houses,” Staunton and Carter wrote, in a disparaging reference to the type of British office park zoned for e-commerce storage and manufacturing.
It appears that the aggrieved Hogwarts faculty members of West Hampstead may have coordinated efforts to defeat their common architectural enemy. Thompson and Jim Broadbent, in emails sent within minutes of each other to the Camden Council, used similar language to articulate their concerns with Young’s dream home: both argued, for instance, that approving the house’s design would set a “dangerous precedent” for the neighborhood.
The British actors did not only make appeals to aesthetics, however. They also claimed the new home envisioned by Young and her husband Daniel, who works as a consulting director at an AI firm focused on automating labor in the workplace, could pose tangible risks both to wildlife and the safety of teenage girls.
Staunton, who currently portrays Queen Elizabeth II on the Netflix series “The Crown,” claimed that her and her husband’s elaborate backyard garden has been visited by 36 species of bird, “including some real rarities.” The shadows cast by the Youngs’ proposed home, and the daylight blocked by it, would pose “a serious threat to the plants and creatures” who visit Staunton’s garden sanctuary, the actor wrote.
The Youngs’ home might also threaten the privacy and wellbeing of female students in the area, according to the actors. The house sits on the back edge of a cricket field enjoyed by the girls of nearby Hampstead High School. Both Staunton and Thompson, along with their spouses, openly questioned the safety of these students if the Youngs were able to constantly peer at the girls’ gameplay from floor-to-ceiling windows on all three floors of their proposed residence.
Further, Thompson and her husband expressed concern that sunlight reflecting from the massive, metallic home could easily pierce a batter’s eyes and effectively prevent them from taking part in Britain’s national sport.
It appears, despite these varied protests, that the Youngs remain intent on seeing their dream home realized. This morning, a representative for the home’s designer, Scenario Architecture, defended the plans and addressed the strong resistance to them by celebrities in the area.
“We are surprised that people involved in a creative industry are so conservative when it comes to another field,” the representative told The Independent.
Decrypt reached out to Ripple to seek comment from Sendi Young, but did not immediately receive a response.