‘Harry Potter’ actress Katie Leung reveals racist abuse

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‘Harry Potter’ actress Katie Leung reveals racist abuse

After hate towards J.K. Rowling, author of the ‘Harry Potter’ series, surfaced over the internet, actress Katie Leung recently shared her story and experience during filming. Leung, cast as Cho Chang, spoke about how her casting was leaked to the press, and how it resulted in racist comments about her.

Featured on the podcast Chinese Chippy Girl, Leung shared what exactly happened to her when she was cast for ‘The Goblet of Fire’ in 2005.

“I remember reading all the comments. And, yeah, it was a lot of racist shit,” Leung said. As a 16-year-old girl searching her name on Google, Leung “just broke down” and “started crying.”

Even more than comments, some internet users even created a hate website meant to see how many people disagreed with the casting. Leung was told by publicists to deny any websites or hate comments when asked by the public.

“And, you know, if you get asked [about these websites], just say it’s not true, say it’s not happening,” Leung said when recalling what the publicists told her.

Now fans are discussing changing Cho Chang’s name in the series. A fan, Neli Farhati, tweeted that “Cho Chang is supposed to be Chinese, but then her name contains two Korean surnames” which seem to be stereotypically chosen, with little to no research. “And of course she’s from Ravenclaw, where the clever kids stay,” Farhati stated, demonstrating a further push on stereotypes toward Asians.

As one of the only ethnic characters in the ‘Harry Potter’ movies, Leung was singled out, especially as Cho Chang was one of the main characters and Harry Potter’s love interest. Other ethnic characters included Dean Thomas, Parvati and Padma Patil and Blaise Zabini, all who played minor roles. Unlike Leung, these actors didn’t receive the amount of hate she did.

Ray Fisher, the actor who played Cyborg in ‘Justice League,’ recently shared his experience of being mistreated on set. Fisher reported that parts of the film were cut and edited to weaken the role of Black characters. Fisher stated that “a room full of executives [were] saying ‘we can’t [have]an angry Black man at the center of the movie’” resulting in the executives reducing Black and POC parts. 

As diversity issues become more prominent in the film industry, directors will hopefully become more aware of how stereotypes are used and will treat ethnic actors better. With the hashtag #StopAsianHate on a rise due to the increase and recognition of hate crimes against Asian Americans, it’s important for more people to support Leung and other mistreated POC actors. 

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