Katie Leung Is Grateful For Harry Potter, but Not the Hate She Faced as Cho Chang
Everett Collection / Warner Bros/Courtesy Everett Collection
Katie Leung was just 16 when she joined the cast of Harry Potter, and almost immediately faced hate for portraying Harry’s love interest Cho Chang. During her March 8 appearance on the Chinese Chippy Girl podcast, Leung discussed how she was advised to deny experiencing any racism in connection with the role of Cho. “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,” she stated. “I remember reading all the comments. And yeah, it was a lot of racist sh*t. Somebody had actually created a website, a hate site. It was like, if you disagree with this casting, click on this button, and it was like a count of who disagreed with the casting. It’s so awful.”
Leung felt woefully unprepared to address these issues and even spoke to publicists about media training. “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 recalled. “And 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.’”
Even with the barrage of racist comments and hate Leung faced throughout her time as Cho, from 2005’s Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire to 2011’s Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2, she’s still thankful. “I was really very f*cking grateful that I was in the position I was in,” she added. “I keep saying, like, ‘Oh I wish I’d maybe said something.’ But you can’t do that [to yourself].” Since then, Leung has kept busy with roles in The Foreigner, Locked Down, and on The Nest.