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‘Bunch of racists’: JK Rowling responds to critics of Harry Potter casting

Noma Dumezweni plays Hermione Grainger in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Photo: Charlie Gray
Noma Dumezweni plays Hermione Grainger in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Photo: Charlie Gray
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JK Rowling has attacked the "bunch of racists" who criticised the casting of a black actor as Hermione in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

The Harry Potter writer, who has collaborated with playwright Jack Thorne and director John Tiffany on the forthcoming sequel, said she thought the casting of Noma Dumezweni as Hermione was "fabulous" but expected the decision to cause a degree of controversy.

"With my experience of social media, I thought that idiots were going to idiot. But what can you say? That’s the way the world is. Noma was chosen because she was the best actress for the job," she said in an interview in The Observer.

Rowling added: "I had a bunch of racists telling me that because Hermione ‘turned white’ – that is, lost colour from her face after a shock – that she must be a white woman, which I have a great deal of difficulty with. But I decided not to get too agitated about it and simply state quite firmly that Hermione can be a black woman with my absolute blessing and enthusiasm.”

She also pleaded with audiences to keep the production details secret during the show's preview period, which lasts almost two months from the first performance on June 7 to press night on July 30.

"I hope we get there without any major spoilers, purely because people will have an amazing experience if they don’t know what’s coming," she said.

Rowling added: "Generally speaking, Harry Potter fans are a community, they have each other’s backs, and they want to have that mystery and the sense of surprise. So we’re hopeful. But it won’t be the absolute end of the world. We’re not going to be throwing tantrums about it but we hope for the audience’s sake that we can get there.”

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