Harry Potter's Katie Leung says she was told to be silent about racist trolling from fans
11 March 2021, 11:35
"I wish I'd maybe said something.' But you can't do that."
Katie, who was born in Scotland to parents from Hong Kong, played Harry Potter's first love interest Cho Chang in four movies. It was Katie's first acting role (she was only 16 at the time) so she was obviously excited. However, soon after the casting announcement, Katie was subjected to racist abuse online.
"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," Katie said on Monday's (Mar 8) episode of the Chinese Chippy Girl podcast.
Katie also stumbled on a "hate site" dedicated to her, which was created shortly after her character Cho kissed Harry for the first time. When Katie told her publicists about the vile trolling she was receiving, instead of helping her, they told her to deny it.
She added: "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.' And I just nodded my head. I was like, '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.'"
Although Katie, who didn't confirm if the publicists in question were actually related to the Harry Potter franchise or members of her own team, was the victim of trolling, she made sure to stress that she was "really fucking grateful" to be a part of the Harry Potter movies. She continued: "I keep saying, like, 'Oh I wish I'd maybe said something.' But you can't do that."
Sadly, this isn't the first time Katie has discussed the racial abuse she had to endure while playing Cho. In a 2016 interview with The Herald, she said: "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.
"I was being judged purely on my looks because she [Cho Chang] is supposed to be a very beautiful girl. This all happened before the films even came out. I thought: 'Well, I can’t do anything about the way I look, so I’m going to need to do the best acting to make up for it.'"