Harry Potter actor Katie Leung says she was pressured to deny facing racist attacks
London, UK - Katie Leung, who starred as Cho Chang in the Harry Potter film series, has revealed she was the target of racist attacks as a teen from the franchise's fans and was told to deny the attacks in interviews.
In an appearance on the Chinese Chippy Girl podcast, Leung opened up about Harry Potter fans attacked her online when it was announced that she would portray Cho Chang in the film franchise.
The Scottish-born actor of Chinese descent was only 16 when she was brought on board, starting with Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire in 2005.
Leung explained she was excited about her role at the time, but she kept coming across hateful comments.
"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," Leung recalled. "I remember reading all the comments. It was a lot of racist shit."
She even found a "hate site", which was aimed at protesting her starring in the role.
"If you get asked that, just say it's not true"
Leung recalled that she reached out to publicists about the issue, but they shrugged off her concerns.
"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 now 33-year-old actor said.
"I was really very f***ing grateful that I was in the position I was in but then, yeah... it wasn’t great," she continued.
Wether the publicists worked for Leung personally or on the production generally is unclear.
It wasn't the first time Leung has talked about racist attacks she has faced because of her role in Harry Potter. She previously spoke to The Herald in 2016, revealing that she was in denial of what was happening to her.
"I put it to the back of my mind," Leung said. "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."
Cover photo: IMAGO / Cinema Publishers Collection