Harry Potter Actor Says She Was Told To Deny Fact She Was Experiencing Racist Attacks While Filming
Katie Leung, the actor who played Cho Chang in the Harry Potter film franchise, says she was told to deny she was experiencing racist attacks.
She made her initial appearance as Cho Chang, Harry Potter’s first love interest, in The Goblet of Fire, which was released in 2005.
Leung said, since her casting in the role, she read a barrage of racist comments about herself online and even found a hate site dedicated to her.
In an appearance on the Chinese Chippy Girl podcast on Monday, March 8, Leung said she had notified the film’s publicists at the time, but they told her to deny she was experiencing any kind of racism.
‘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 sh*t.
‘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’,’ Leung said.
Leung, who was just 16 years old at the time, nodded her head and agreed. ‘Even though I had seen it myself with my own eyes. I was like ‘okay, yeah, I’ll just say everything’s great’,’ she said.
Looking back, Leung can see how the experience shaped her teenage years.
‘At 16, I care what people think as it is, never mind what the whole world thinks. [Cho Chang]’s pretty, she’s popular, and you’re trying to do that at school anyway, and then you’re trying to be pretty and popular to the rest of the world,’ she said.
‘During that time it was the rise of the internet and fandoms. Somebody had actually created a hate site about me, it was like if you disagree with this casting click on this button,’ she explained.
Leung has been vocal about experiencing racism in the past. In 2016, she told The Telegraph that taxi drivers are often shocked by how well she speaks English, despite her having grown up in Dundee.
‘It really irks me. It is just ignorance. It is something that needs to be addressed,’ she told the publication.
Also that year, she told BBC News she has yet to be cast in a role that is not specific to her being Chinese and would like to use acting as a way to get rid of stereotypes that are often associated with Chinese women.
‘The challenge is being able to rid these stereotypes, so I’m not playing the submissive female who’s a victim, but somebody who is determined and fearless. [So] they can see a Chinese girl on the screen who has her own mind and is able to make decisions for herself and she’s independent,’ she said.
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