Harry Potter actress Katie Leung said this week that publicists instructed her to deny racist attacks against her in interviews about the franchise.
Leung, who played Cho Chang in the series, told the podcast Chinese Chippy Girl that she didnt receive media training and brought up the online racial harassment she was getting.
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, say it’s not true, say it’s not happening, Leung said. That was their support. And I just nodded my head I was like, OK.
The now 33-year-old Scottish-born actress of Chinese descent said she was 16 when it was announced she would play Cho Chang in the 2005 film Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and later franchise movies. The attention she got after the announcement ended up being a huge shock to the system, she said.
She said although she received a lot of fan mail from lovely people, she also faced a lot of hate, including a hate site made for people to express their disagreement with her casting.
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 said. I remember reading all the comments. And, yeah, it was a lot of racist shit.
Of course I was grateful. I was really very f—ing grateful that I was in the position I was in but then, yeah … it wasnt great actually, she added.
The actress in the interview did not specify if the publicists she mentioned worked for her or the “Harry Potter” franchise. Warner Bros. Pictures did not immediately return The Hills request for comment.
Leung previously discussed the harassment she faced from Potter fans in an interview with The Herald in 2016.
I put it to the back of my mind, she said at the time. I dont 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.