The final trailer for “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald” caused fans of the series to call out the offensive casting of South Korean actress Claudia Kim as Nagini, Voldemort’s giant snake, and his most protected Horcrux.
Following the announcement for the final trailer, many netizens raised their concerns about an Asian woman being tapped to play a “slave” to Voldemort.
“JKR’s Fantastic Beasts universe was truly the most disgusting thing to ever happen to Harry Potter and Harry James Potter.
Im [sic] still so disgusted by the way she wrote Credence and his condition and turns out her writing can get worse!
Nagini is basically Voldemort’s SERVANT and PET forced to do his bidding for life because it’s a giant evil snake right…now it is revealed that Claudia Kim is playing Nagini and she’s blood cursed to turn into a beast and it only affects women and of course she picks an Asian woman like that’s not stereotypically disgusting enough,” a fan wrote, according to Indy100.
Other fans took to Twitter to express that Kim’s casting as Nagini in “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald” is just plain racist.
I feel like this is the problem when white people want to diversify and don’t actually ask POC how to do so. They don’t make the connection between making Nagini an Asian woman who later on is the pet of a white man. So I’m going to say it right now. That shit is racist.
— Ellen “Call Me General” Oh (@ElloEllenOh) September 25, 2018
J.K Rowling is trash and I’m sick of it. Nagini is apparently an East Asian woman.
If you don’t see anything racist about an asian woman being the pet of a white man—who is basically magic hitler, I don’t know what to say. pic.twitter.com/QeJxZCWeym
— 🌈 (@kruxila) September 25, 2018
With the racist history of Asian women being cast as Dragon Ladies, Nagini being a snake… helping a fascist kill people then getting her head lopped off without anyone knowing she’s a human. pic.twitter.com/ZGNz971CYj
— Janelle Belgrave L.Ac (@JSoAbove) September 25, 2018
Tea: The new backstory about Nagini is not only nonsensical but incredibly racist and offensive to Asian females and I am prepared to duel with everyone who doesn’t agree wholeheartedly
— Jaded (@Jadedblue0230_E) September 25, 2018
So, Nagini is actually an East Asian serpent woman who serves submissive slave/pet to a powerful man…I’m okay with not supporting that tired bit of historically propagated racist stereotype.
— M.M. Schill (@mm_schill) September 25, 2018
Wooooow just when you thought the idea behind this film couldn’t get any worse they make Nagini an Asian woman. Which means she was a submissive Asian woman for a white male this entire time……a racist trope and fetish. https://t.co/yKbCOVZcbj
— fledgling vampire 🧛🏿♀️ (@Nadia20) September 25, 2018
VICE went on to describe the casting as a portrayal of Asian women stereotypes. The opinion piece reads: “Nagini, played by Claudia Kim, is in a cage while an audience watches her transform into a snake, echoing historical strains of the sexy, dangerous “dragon lady.” She also quite literally houses a piece of Voldemort’s soul, acting as a guarantor of his immortality, thus reifying the trope of Asian women as submissive.”
Meanwhile, The Daily Dot went on to call the character’s introduction as a “circus freak.”
— Gavia Baker-Whitelaw (@Hello_Tailor) September 26, 2018
However, not everyone was upset with the casting, and don’t see a problem with Kim in the role of Nagini.
as an asian woman I’m not particularly offended about claudia being nagini, I actually think it’s kinda cool to know her whole backstory,, people are just so easily offended these days, you can’t enjoy anything without it having some sort of racist deeper meaning
— #10YearsWithIU🌸 (@y0seobs) September 26, 2018
Honestly I don’t mind the idea of Nagini’s past. I just wonder if it isn’t coming out now to gain new interest for being edgy and making us all gasp in surprise. So tired of these people making this racist. It’s a story that is/was for kids and the idea of tainting it like this
— TwistedFairytale (@DreamsRemorse) September 25, 2018
I honestly don’t get the people who are furious about the whole Nagini thing in Crimes of Grindelwald? Like, I don’t exactly see how that is racist (speaking as someone with an Asian ethnic background). If someone could give me a sensible explanation, it’d be appreciated ✌🏻
— Joanne (@Potato_Slater) September 28, 2018
ok im sorry i just really genuinely dont understand how nagini being cast as an asian woman is inherently racist nor am i slightly bothered by it
— dumbass (@jord1nna) September 27, 2018
The timeline of Fantastic Beasts being in the 1920s also reflects POC situation at the time because during that time, people were racist. Besides trying to inject sensitivity in the matter, the fact of the matter is, in HP, Nagini is a murderer, cursed or not.
— Tqah Awal (@Thiqsz) September 25, 2018
One fan tried to make sense of the whole issue.
Okay, I’m an Asian and I don’t find Nagini being an Asian woman offensive at all. Nagini wasn’t just some slave owned by Voldemort. She was a pretty powerful, scary villain on her own, and she willingly served with him.
— Jonathan Sim (@TheJonathanSim) September 27, 2018
Author J.K. Rowling also took to social media to clear up the name Nagini, explaining that it is based off an Indonesian mythological creature known as the Naga.
The Naga are snake-like mythical creatures of Indonesian mythology, hence the name ‘Nagini.’ They are sometimes depicted as winged, sometimes as half-human, half-snake. Indonesia comprises a few hundred ethnic groups, including Javanese, Chinese and Betawi. Have a lovely day 🐍
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) September 26, 2018
However, her attempt to defend the casting backfired when another fan educated her on the Naga mythology.
Actually @jk_rowling the Naga mythology emerged from India. It travelled to Indonesia with the Indic/Hindu empires that emerged there in the early Common Era, with the influence of Indian traders and Rishis/Rishikas who travelled there. Nagin is a Sanskrit language word. https://t.co/cXHSlDD7Kc
— Amish Tripathi (@authoramish) September 26, 2018
What do you think?
Images via YouTube / Warner Bros. Pictures
H/T: The Independent