Finally, after years, the Harry Potter Actress, Katie Leung has opened up about the racial backlash she received after being cast as Cho Chang. Today at the age of 33, the actress recounts how difficult and traumatizing the whole situation was. Back then Leung was still in school and a teenager.
Leung talked about the incident on the Chinese Chippy Girl podcast, she stated it wasn’t even after the film had been released. The racial attacks and comments began as soon as the news of her being cast was leaked.
The actress recounts the event as a very tough one especially given the fact that she was around only 16 and had no support from the film’s publicist.
Leung stated that somebody secretly took a photo of her and the news of her casting had already been on the papers. She says, she just broke down and started crying!
After the news was out in the open, Leung’s life became miserably hellish as she started to get negative comments and hurtful remarks from the people around her and on social media as well.
Leung narrated an incident from those times when she was just randomly googling herself and landed on a page that was all about Harry Potter fans. To her surprise, the page was filled with racial comments about her and all sorts of negativity.
And this was not all, she was targeted so much on a celebrity hate site, the site gave users the option to vote for cast members and she got down voted way too much, it was a very awful time for her to handle, she explains.
This totally crushed her from the inside, but she was strong enough to not go bonkers and take the situation bravely.
However, she contacted the publicist of the film for help but was instead told to keep shut about it and deny the racial attacks she was facing.
I remember them saying to me, ‘Oh look, Katie, we haven’t seen these websites that people are talking about. And if you get asked, then 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.’
Now it is not stated anywhere whether her publicist was a private one or someone working for Warner Bros. Pictures. Which is the studio that created all the Harry Potter movies. Seeking out further clarity, a spokesperson was contacted to provide information on the incident, however, there has been no response yet.
The actress regrets not speaking against these issues earlier when she was facing them, but according to her she was way too grateful for the role and didn’t want to lose it, but in the end, it wasn’t worth her self-respect.
Even back in 2016, during an interview with The Herald, she spoke about what happened during the production of the Harry Potter movies. She stated her emotions, and how being so young to handle such a situation was so difficult. She explained she had to put all of this at the back of her mind and continue living like a normal person.
She added that at that time maybe she was so naive that she herself could not accept or realize what was happening, or whether it was all true or was she overreacting?