By Nick Romano
Updated June 05, 2016 at 07:58 PM EDT
Credit: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

J.K. Rowling previously gave her stamp of approval to the casting of Noma Dumezweni as Hermione for the London stage production of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Now, the author is addressing the backlash from “racists” in a new interview.

“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 Observer (via 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.”

Last year, Rowling tweeted, “Canon: brown eyes, frizzy hair, and very clever. White skin was never specified. Rowling loves black Hermione” in response to the casting. In a lengthier statement posted to Pottermore at the time, she added, “I’m so excited with the choice of casting for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. I can’t wait to see Jamie, Noma, and Paul bring the adult Harry, Hermione, and Ron to life on stage next summer.”

“With my experience of social media, I thought that idiots were going to idiot,” Rowling 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.”

Cursed Child, developed by Rowling, picks up with Harry and the gang 19 years after the end of Deathly Hallows. Cast photos were recently released, featuring Dumezweni, Paul Thornley as Ron, Cherrelle Skeete as Hermione’s daughter Rose Granger-Weasley, Jamie Parker as Harry, Poppy Miller as Ginny, Sam Clemmett as Albus Severus, Alex Price as Draco, and Anthony Boyle as Draco’s son Scorpius. The show begins previews at London’s Palace Theatre June 7.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

  • Stage
  • John Tiffany