J.K. Rowling Slams Racists, Defends Casting of Black Actress as Hermione in Harry Potter Play

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J.K. Rowling is frustrated that "a bunch of racists" have criticized the choice of casting a black actress to portray Hermione in the London stage production of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

J.K. Rowling at London Premiere
Noma Dumezweni

The play, which sold 175,000 tickets in 24 hours, stars Olivier-award-winning actress Noma Dumezweni as Hermione, the female lead in the literary series.

After critics lashed out about the casting announcement, Rowling defended the decision.

“With my experience of social media, I thought that idiots were going to idiot,” the author told the Observer.

“But what can you say? That’s the way the world is. Noma was chosen because she was the best actress for the job.”

Rowling recounts fans complaining to her, arguing that the character must be white because of something she wrote in one of the books.

“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," Rowling revealed.

"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.”

Fans may have gotten too attached to Emma Watson, a white actress who originated the role onscreen in the feature films.

Last December, Rowling expressed her approval on Twitter over the casting as well, indicating that her books never specified Hermione as Caucasian.

"Canon: brown eyes, frizzy hair and very clever. White skin was never specified. Rowling loves black Hermione," she wrote on Twitter.

This isn't the first time Rowling has vocally expressed her distaste of racism and bigotry.

Last year, after presidential candidate Donald Trump made numerous statements against Muslims, Mexicans and women, Rowling compared the mogul to Voldemort, the nefarious villain in the Harry Potter series.

"How horrible. Voldemort was nowhere near as bad," she wrote alongside a link to an article about Trump's wish to ban Muslims from entering the U.S.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child picks up where the seventh book left off, with Harry as a married father of three who works for the Ministry of Magic.

The play is set to open in London's West End in July 2016.

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