J.K. Rowling Slams Critics of Hermione Casting as "Bunch of Racists"

Hermione 'Harry Potter and the Cursed Child' - Publicity - H 2016
Charlie Gray

Olivier-winning actress Noma Dumezweni was cast as Granger for the 'Harry Potter and the Cursed Child' stage play, which begins previews on Tuesday.

J.K. Rowling has fought back against those who have criticized the casting of a black actress as Hermione Granger in the first Harry Potter stage play.

In an interview with U.K. newspaper The Observer, the author described those who had voiced their disapproval of Olivier Award-winning actress Noma Dumezweni being cast in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child as a "bunch of racists."

Rowling said she had a "great deal of difficulty" dealing with those who insisted Hermione — played by Emma Watson in the film franchise — "must be a white woman."

"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," adding that Dumezweni was simply "the best actress for the job."

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, which is set 19 years after the last film, begins previews at London's Palace Theater on Tuesday. Ticket holders have been requested to arrive early due to increased security.