"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," Leung — who was cast in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire when she was 16 — recalled. "I remember reading all the comments. And yeah, it was a lot of racist shit."
Leung claims she even found a "hate site" dedicated to her — but when she talked to publicists about it, "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 said, "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 also says she was "really fucking grateful" to be part of the film franchise, but the position she was put in was difficult in its own way: "I keep saying, like, 'Oh I wish I'd maybe said something.' But you can't do that."
Entertainment Weekly points out that this isn't the first time Leung has talked about facing racist attacks because she played Cho: In a 2016 interview with the Herald, she claimed, "I can't remember much about that part of it because I was so in denial of what was happening."
She added, "I put it to 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."