Katie Leung, the actor who starred in the Harry Potter film franchise, said that she was subjected to racist attacks from fans while she was shooting the films.
During an interview in the podcast Chinese Chippy Girl, Leung said that her publicists advised her to deny what was happening if she were ever asked about it.
Leung portrayed Cho Chang, a love interest of Daniel Radcliffe’s Harry Potter, in four films. Recaling the abuse she faced from fans at the time, she said, “I was Googling myself at one point, and I was on this website, which was kind of dedicated to the Harry Potter fandom. I remember reading all the comments. And, yeah, it was a lot of racist shit.”
The actor was cast for the fantasy film series when she was 16. The actor revealed that she was not given any media training before doing interviews, however, she was allegedly advised by publicists to pretend that the racism didn’t exist.
“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’,” she said in the interview.
She said that she was “grateful” to be part of the film franchise, but wished that she had said something about it at the time.
“Because I’m 16 and a teenager, I care what people think as it is in school, never mind what the whole world thinks. There was a lot of pressure there. I was so caught up in caring about what people thought of me,” she said.
Leung’s comments comes after JK Rowling, on whose books the films are based on, was labelled as problematic for not putting any effort into naming the character of Leung. She was also called out for making transphobic comments.
Leung however didn’t respond to this directly but instead posted a thread of links to charities and initiatives accepting donations to support black trans lives.
President of USA Joe Biden Thursday denounced violent attacks against Asian Americans during the Covid-19 pandemic. His statement comes after weeks of outcry from the Asian American community regarding the growing violence towards them.
Recently, Teen Vogue‘s new editor-in-chief Alexi McCammond was called out for her racist comments. In a tweet from 2011, McCammond had written on Twitter, “Now googling how to not wake up with swollen, Asian eyes.” In another, she had written: “Outdone by Asian.” The posts have since been deleted. As an apology, McCammond shared a note condemning her thoughts and vowed to share a “comprehensive plan about Teen Vogue’s editorial commitment to uplifting and reflecting the true complexities and beauties of the AAPI (Asian American Pacific Islander) community.”