"Harry Potter" star Katie Leung has revealed that she was subjected to racist attacks by fans online but rather than speak about it, her publicist advised her to remain silent about the issue. The actress, who starred as Cho Chang in the fantasy films, explained during an appearance on the podcast “Chinese Chippy Girl” that she had just been cast in 2005's "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" when the racist remarks began.
"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 shit," she said.
Leung was 16 at the time and had not received any formal media training. So when her publicist told her to remain silent, she did as she was told.
"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,'" she recounted. "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 said she was just too grateful to be in the position she was, appearing in the "Harry Potter" franchise, and did not speak out about the racist attacks.
"I keep saying, 'Oh I wish I’d maybe said something,'" she added. "But you can’t do that."
Leung reprised her role as Cho Chang in Harry Potter's "Order of the Phoenix," "Half-Blood Prince," and the two "Deathly Hallows: Part 1 and 2." She has appeared in several theatrical productions and also starred in various TV roles. Credits include "Run," ITV1's "Poirot," and BBC's "Father Brown," according to IMDB. She was announced as one of BAFTA's Breakthrough Brits in 2014.
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