If you’ve watched the Harry Potter films, you’re aware of who Cho Chang is. Katie Leung was cast in the role, and the audience couldn’t help but be drawn to her girl-next-door persona, and smile whenever Cho and Harry crossed paths.
But the reality behind the scenes was far different from what we saw on screen. On a recent episode of the Chinese Chippy podcast, Leung spoke up and said that she was on the receiving end of racist attacks after it was announced that she would be playing Cho Chang in the films. She even went on to add that her publicists directed her to deny they were happening. During the podcast, Leung said, “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.”
Leung alleges that she even stumbled upon a “hate site” dedicated to her, and brought it to the attention of her publicists. “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. “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 added.
But despite the racism and the difficulty she went through, Leung admits to being really grateful for the opportunity to be a part of the film franchise. “I keep saying, like, ‘Oh I wish I'd maybe said something.’ But you can't do that,” she said.
However, this is not the first time that Leung spoke out against dealing with racism. According to Entertainment Weekly, she first talking about fending off racist attacks in a 2016 interview with The Herald. In the interview, Leung was quoted as saying, “I can't remember much about that part of it because I was so in denial of what was happening. 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.”
Image Courtesy: Twitter/Film Updates (@TheFilmUpdates) and Entertainment Weekly (@EW)