Katie Leung will forever be Cho Chang.
The actress, 33, who starred as the Ravenclaw love interest to Harry Potter in several of the franchise’s hit films, looks back at the breakout role, admitting the excitement for joining the cast was overshadowed by some online hate.
Leung officially joined the “Harry Potter” cast in 2005’s “Goblet Of Fire”.
Detailing her experience on the “Chinese Chippy Girl” podcast, Leung, who is of Chinese descent, says the casting news was leaked in the U.K. tabloids and soon gathered a lot of attention online, including on Harry Potter fan sites.
“I was like, Googling myself at one point and I was on this website which was dedicated to kind of ‘Harry Potter’ fandom and I remember reading all the comments. It was a lot of racist s**t,” said Leung, who was only 16-years-old at the time. “And then somebody had actually created a website, a hate site — it was like, if you disagree with this casting, then click on this button and then it would just be like a count of how many people disagreed with the casting and you would just see a number… I know, it’s awful. It’s so awful.”
She continued, “I remember speaking to the publicists… I didn’t get any kind of interview, media training before I was doing these interviews and I remember them saying to me, ‘Oh look, Katie, we haven’t seen these websites that people are talking about and if you get asked, then 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 later added, “Of course, I was grateful. I was really very f**king grateful that I was in the position I was in. I keep saying, like, ‘oh I wish I’d maybe said something.’ But you can’t do that.”
After “Harry Potter”, Leung went on to star in Netflix’s “The Foreigner” next to Jackie Chan and Pierce Brosnan.
ET Canada stands with the Asian community in working together to stop anti-Asian racism in Canada, the United States, and around the world to #StopAsianHate.
Canadians can stay informed by following community groups and leaders, including but not limited to: https://nextshark.com/, https://www.dearasianyouth.org/home, https://www.thepeahceproject.com/ and https://www.asianmhc.org/instagram-partners.
If you or someone you know is experiencing hate-crimes related to xenophobic attacks in Canada you can file a report at: https://www.elimin8hate.org/fileareport.
Bystander intervention training to anti-Asian and xenophobic harassment is available at: ihollaback.org/bystanderintervention/.