Over the years, the Harry Potter movies have been a fantastical escape for millions of fans. Unfortunately, things offscreen weren’t always so magical. For instance, you may be surprised to hear what happened to Katie Leung while filming Harry Potter. In a recent interview, she claimed she was told to deny dealing with "racist sh*t" from Potter fans while working on the franchise.
Leung was only 16 when she was cast as Cho Chang, a Hogwarts student who became Harry’s first love interest in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Her role sparked plenty of jealousy among fans, but the hate Leung received online went far beyond stans of Daniel Radcliffe wishing they were in her shoes. "I was googling myself at one point, and I was on this website, which was kind of dedicated to the Harry Potter fandom. I remember reading all the comments. And yeah, it was a lot of racist sh*t," Leung said on the March 8 episode of the Chinese Chippy Girl podcast, adding that she even found a "hate site" solely dedicated to bashing her.
Leung said on the podcast that she brought the issue up with publicists, but was encouraged to stay silent. "I remember them saying to me, ‘We haven’t seen these websites that people are talking about. If you get asked that, just say it’s not true, say it’s not happening,’" Leung said. "I just nodded my head. I was like, ‘OK, OK,’ even though I had seen it myself with my own eyes. I was like, ‘OK yeah, I’ll just say everything’s great.’"
Elite Daily reached out to Warner Bros. Pictures, the studio behind the Harry Potter films, for comment about Leung’s claims and to clarify whether she was referring to studio publicists or her own team, but did not hear back at the time of publication.
This isn’t the first time Leung has called out racism in the Harry Potter fan community. During a 2016 interview with The Herald, the actor said when she was filming the movies, she was "in denial" of the racist attacks she received. "I put it in 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," Leung said. "I was being judged purely on my looks because [Cho] is supposed to be a very beautiful girl … But look[ing] back, and I’m pretty impressed with how I did handle it."
These days, Leung’s acting career is still keeping her busy. She had a role in the HBO Max quarantine comedy Locked Down and starred in the 2020 British miniseries Roadkill. Her Potter days may have been complicated, but fans will be happy to know that Leung killed it in Hogwarts and beyond.
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