The actress, who played Hermione Granger in all the Potter films, tweeted a quote from Rickman saying: ‘There is nothing wrong with a man being a feminist – I think it is to our mutual advantage.’
But Watson, 25, was accused of ‘using the death of your friend to push your agenda’ after Rickman, who played Professor Severus Snape in the wizarding movies, died from cancer at 69 this morning.
Tribute: Emma Watson, who played Hermione Granger in all the Harry Potter films, tweeted a quote from Rickman saying: ‘There is nothing wrong with a man being a feminist – I think it is to our mutual advantage’
Stars: (From left) Watson is pictured as Hermione, with Rupert Grint as Ron Weasley, Rickman as Professor Severus Snape, and Daniel Radcliffe as Harry in a scene from 2004 Potter film The Prisoner Of Azkaban
The Paris-born actress, who has made a very public transition from child star to feminist icon, was appointed United Nations Women Goodwill Ambassador in July 2014.
But her reference to Rickman’s pro-feminist comments were condemned by some of her critics on Twitter, who claimed she was being ‘gross’ and ‘low class’ in the hours after his death.
Musician Nick Ivers, of Eugene, Oregon, tweeted: ‘Wow, you’re using the death of your friend to push your agenda. That’s actually horrible.’
And Alan Reid from Essex said: ‘He’s not even cold and you’re already using him to fuel the feminist agenda bandwagon? Not impressed. RIP Alan Rickman.’
Other Twitter users posting anonymously went further, saying she was ‘using the dead to further your political agenda – go f*** yourself’, and displaying ‘classless, tactless, disgusting behaviour’.
‘Horrible’: Musician Nick Ivers, of Eugene, Oregon, claimed 25-year-old Watson was ‘pushing her agenda’
Twitter reaction: Alan Reid from Essex said he was ‘not impressed’ by Watson’s tweet about Rickman today
‘So gross’: Chloe Price claimed Watson was using Rickman’s death to ‘push a completely unrelated agenda’
Anger: A Twitter user posting anonymously claimed she was ‘using the dead to further your political agenda’
Unimpressed: Another anonymous Twitter user said Watson had displayed ‘tactless, disgusting behaviour’
But others defended her, saying she was ‘paying tribute to a friend and mentor in all aspects of his life’, ‘sharing inspiration’ and ‘simply remembering her friend through his quote she holds dearly’.
Paris-born actress: Emma Watson has made a very public transition from child star to feminist icon
Paying tribute to Rickman on Facebook today, Watson said: ‘I’m very sad to hear about Alan today. I feel so lucky to have worked and spent time with such a special man and actor. I’ll really miss our conversations. RIP Alan. We love you.’
And her co-star Daniel Radcliffe, who played Harry, today called Rickman ‘undoubtedly one of the greatest actors I will ever work with’.
Rickman gave the quote on feminism to Australian TV network ABC in March last year while promoting his period drama film A Little Chaos, in which he played Louis XIV.
While promoting the same movie, he also told Entertainment Weekly: ‘I always think feminist just means common sense. You have a film where one of its last lines is, “What about us? We will shape each other.”
‘You think, ‘Well, that sounds like a good idea.’ Is that feminism? I guess. And do I live in a world and certainly in a business that is incredible unfair to women – yes, I do.””
Watson, who has also starred in The Perks Of Being A Wallflower and The Bling Ring, was appointed by UN Women to advocate its HeForShe campaign promoting gender equality.
She made a speech at a HeForShe event in New York in September 2014 where she stated ‘I’m a feminist’ and told the audience ‘gender equality is your issue too’. Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai said she was inspired to call herself a feminist by Watson’s words.
UN Women said it chose Watson for the role partly because she was already involved in the promotion of girls’ education having visited Bangladesh and Zambia as part of her humanitarian efforts.
Watson also recently gave her seal of approval for the decision to cast black actress Noma Dumerzweni as Hermione for the upcoming stage show Harry Potter And The Cursed Child.
In December 2014, the Ms Foundation For Women named Watson the Feminist Celebrity of 2014 in an online poll. Today, representatives for Watson did not return MailOnline’s requests for comment.
‘RIP’: Paying tribute to Rickman on Facebook today, Watson said: ‘I’m very sad to hear about Alan today. I feel so lucky to have worked and spent time with such a special man and actor. I’ll really miss our conversations’
Speech: Watson, pictured with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, was made Women Goodwill Ambassador
Pakistani activist: Malala Yousafzai said she was inspired to call herself a feminist by Watson’s word