Katie Leung, who played Cho Chang in the Harry Potter franchise, has claimed she was asked to hide racist abuse from fans during filming.
Speaking on a podcast, the 33-year-old actress recounted the racist trolling from fans of the book series she received when she was cast in the role of Harry Potter's love interest. She also claimed publicists asked her to conceal her experience.
"During that time, it was the kind of rise of the internet and fandoms and all that sort of stuff," she said on the podcast Chinese Chippy Girl. "Because I’m 16 and a teenager, I care what people think as it is in school, never mind what the whole world thinks. There was a lot of pressure there. I was so caught up in caring about what people thought of me."
The actress went on to explain how she would Google herself and find "a lot of racist s***" as well as "hate sites" about her on message boards and in the comment sections. But instead of addressing the racism, Katie claims publicists asked her to pretend it didn't exist.
She continued, "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.’ 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.’"
Leung added that she is still "so grateful" for being part of the Harry Potter franchise, but that she wishes she'd handled things differently with hindsight.
We have reached out to Warner Bros for comment.
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