The Harry Potter fandom is up in arms about what they say is a racist casting choice


The Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them sequel has come under fire before for its featuring of Johnny Depp, but now there’s another reason fans are unhappy after a new trailer for Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald came out earlier this week and while it features some new details and new footage, not everyone is happy about it. 

One of the biggest reveals is that Nagini, Lord Voldemort’s murderous snake and Horcrux from the original Harry Potter series, is actually what’s called a Maledictus (a human woman cursed to transform into a serpent). 

However, it’s not the character that’s causing the backlash—it’s the casting choice that’s rubbing a lot of people the wrong way. Many fans feel that casting South Korean actress Claudia Kim as Nagini is offensive for several reasons.

Claudia is just one of two actors of colour in the entire movie (the other is Zoë Kravitz), so many believe this was a lazy attempt at diversifying the sequel. Others feel that casting an Asian actress for the role of a cursed woman who eventually becomes Voldemort’s slave is incredibly problematic. And more still think that casting Claudia as a snake perpetuates offensive stereotypes in Asian culture.

J.K. Rowling insisted that the casting was entirely appropriate as the fictional character does, in fact, have Asian origins.

Claudia doesn't seem to have any problems with the role or character and told Entertainment Weekly, “It will be so interesting to see another side of Nagini. You’ve only seen her as a Horcrux. In this, she’s a wonderful and vulnerable woman who wants to live. She wants to stay a human being and I think that’s a wonderful contrast to the character.”

But we still haven’t seen the movie yet, so we can’t be sure of how Nagini will be portrayed, but this is problematic AF.

READ MORE: JK Rowling totally photobombed this gay couple's wedding pictures and it's the sweetest thing

I myself am a major Harry Potter fan. As I sit here writing this I have a quote from the books and a Funko Pop of Ron wearing his dress robes on my desk and the Deathly Hallows symbol around my neck. I listen to the audiobooks on repeat and even have Hogwarts robes and know what house I would be in (Hufflepuff).

So it’s safe to say that I love this fandom very much, but I am always disappointed by the lack of diversity in the actual books and the movies and it does often feel like JK Rowling is trying to tack on diversity to a series we already know is not the most diverse, but has still brought joy to millions of people. 

I love Jo more than I love some members of my family, but she needs to do better. She needs to realise that while her books were and are some of the best stories ever told, they cannot be all things to all people. 

It’s still great that we can have Black Hermione in the Cursed Child and we know that Dumbledore was gay (even though it’s not actually explicit in the books), but she needs to stop trying to pretend the original series was anything more than a story about a white teenage boy and his white friends with a few brown people in the background and that she’s trying and failing to now diversify another series about another white man. 

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