J.K. Rowling Defends Casting a Black Actress as Hermione

Once again, J.K. Rowling is not here for your Twiticism.

The Harry Potter author is speaking out amid the negative social media response that arose in regards to her choice of casting black actress, Noma Dumezweni, for the role of Hermione Granger in her highly-anticipated stage play, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

“I had a bunch of racists telling me that because Hermione ‘turned white’ – that is, lost color from her face after a shock – that she must be a white woman, which I have a great deal of difficulty with,” Rowling told The Guardian. “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 continued her defense of Dumezweni in an interview with The Observer. “With my experience of social media, I thought that idiots were going to idiot,” said Rowling. “But what can you say? That’s the way the world is. Noma was chosen because she was the best actress for the job.”

The play’s casting director, John Tiffany, backed Rowling and Dumezweni in an additional statement. “I am not as Twitter-familiar as Jo and Jack, so I hadn’t encountered its dark side, which is just awful,” he stated. “But what shocked me was the way people couldn’t visualize a non-white person as the hero of a story. It’s therefore brilliant that this has happened.”

Rowling has previously noted that the books never explicitly describe Hermione’s race or ethnicity and that she is often depicted as black in fan art. Despite the controversy, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child sold 175,000 tickets in 24 hours. It will open at the Palace Theater in London’s West End during late-July.

Launch the gallery at the top of the page to view photos of Dumezweni and the rest of the Cursed Child cast.