Harry Potter actor Katie Leung recently recalled the racist abuse she suffered from fans of the franchise. In an interview on the podcast Chinese Chippy Girl, Leung told the host, G-Ma, that she was advised by publicists to deny any racist behaviors and fan activity.
Who is Katie Leung?
Katie Leung is a Scottish actor of Chinese descent— both of her parents are from Hong Kong. She is most notable for playing the character Cho Chang in the Harry Potter movie series.
For years, the character’s name has been criticized for being unimaginative and lazy, and her role has been labeled as stereotypical by some fans. Since the franchise’s popularity, many fans have found themselves divided on the topic.
The character Cho Chang was prevalent in four of the Harry Potter movies and she was first introduced as a love interest in the 2005 movie Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.
Leung recently opened up about her role on the podcast Chinese Chippy Girl. She shared, “I was googling myself at one point, and I was on this website, which was dedicated to the Harry Potter fandom. I remember reading all the comments. And, yeah, it was a lot of racist s–t.”
The actor recalled a conversation she had with “publicists” after coming across a “hate-site” dedicated to her.
Leung shared, “I remember them saying to me, ‘look Katie, we haven’t seen 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.’”
She further expressed that during her time as a young, supporting actor on Harry Potter, she didn’t receive any sort of comprehensive media training. Nonetheless, she clarifies that she was “grateful” for her role, despite her regrets for not defending herself at the time.
On the podcast, Leung also spoke about Asian representation on television in general. She stated that through her experience, both as an actor and an audience member, pressure can often wreak havoc on Asian actors due to an overall lack of diversity.
What are fans saying?
Fans of Harry Potter are reasonably upset to hear this news. Many are using this time to voice their support for the actor and to denounce this form of racist hate in fan activity.
One fan wrote, “I’m not surprised they asked Katie Leung (Cho Chang in the Harry Potter series) to say there [sic] wasn’t racism towards her during filming but I’m glad she’s speaking out. So stan Katie.”
On Twitter, much of the discourse seems to be surrounding the creation of Cho Chang’s character in general. Fans and critics of the franchise are using this time to center the “general racism” featured in the naming and problematic storytelling of her character.
Katie Leung was recently in the movie Locked Down on HBO Max.