Scottish actor Katie Leung, who played the character of Cho Chang in the Harry Potter film series, has revealed that she had to endure racist comments when she was cast for the role in the movies. The actor also went on to add that she was told by her publicists to deny that anything like that ever happened. Katie was speaking to the Chinese Chippy Girl podcast where she reportedly narrated what transpired when she took on the role of Cho Chang. “I was, like, googling myself at one point, and I was on this website, which was kind of dedicated to the kind of Harry Potter fandom. I remember reading all the comments. And yeah, it was a lot of racist shit.”
Leung was cast in the role of Cho Chang in the franchise’s fourth movie ‘Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire’ at the age of 16 as a love interest of the lead character of the boy wizard Harry Potter, played by Daniel Radcliffe. Cho Chang was a student at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and was in the Ravenclaw house.
Speaking further, Katie said that she found an entire website that had racial comments directed at her and when she spoke to her publicists about it, their reply was to not talk about it with anyone.
“I remember them saying to me, ‘Oh, look, Katie, we haven’t seen these, these websites that people are talking about. And you know? If you get asked that, just say it’s not true, say it’s not happening,” the actress said.
The actress said although she didn’t agree with it but she said, “Okay, okay, even though I had seen it myself with my own eyes. I was like, ‘Okay, yeah, I’ll just say everything’s great.”
Katie reportedly said that she tried to put it behind her and move on. “I put it to the back of my mind. I don’t know if that is the best way to deal with it, but that is naturally what I did in order to move on and be a good actor.”
Internet users all across came out in solidarity with the actress and were shocked with her revelations. Several of them also pointed out how it was problematic of the publicists to advise Katie on ignoring all the racial vitriol she faced.
Showing my support for #katieleung this morning for all she is standing up for and speaking out on. We spoke earlier last year and she is such a lovely soul. #stopracism— Giacomo Gianniotti (@GiacomoKG) March 12, 2021
Omg someone used to bully Katie Leung. Wtf is wrong with people?— Jackie (@spottedhole) March 12, 2021
The adults who told Katie Leung not to speak of racism whilst filming ‘HARRY POTTER’ are guilty of abuse.— Vin (@VMaratty) March 12, 2021
Katie went on to reprise her role in other movies in the film series too. Also, movies in Hollywood have often been accused of perpetuating Asian stereotypes and even though changes have been made to be more inclusive of minority characters/actors, critics opine there’s still a lot that has to change.