'Harry Potter' star speaks out over bullying allegations

Emma Watson says she has taken break from studies to concentrate on her acting career

The Harry Potter actress Emma Watson tried this weekend to scotch claims that bullying about her role as the bookworm Hermione Granger had led her to take time out from university.

The 21-year-old Brit, who is studying at Brown University in the US, announced in March that she would be taking a semester off to focus on acting. However, media reports last month speculated that her decision was prompted by bullying from fellow students at the Ivy League institution.

Watson took to her website on Friday to deny the allegations. "I have never been bullied in my life and certainly never at Brown... I feel the need to say this because accusing Brown students of something as serious as bullying, and this causing me to leave, seems beyond unfair," she wrote.

US reports suggested that when Watson correctly answered questions in class, other students would heckle her by shouting, "Three points for Gryffindor!", a reference to the house at J K Rowling's fictional Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry to which the actress's character, Hermione, belongs. But Watson said such incidents had never happened.

Staff and students at Brown, in Rhode Island, also denied that she had been bullied. Visiting professor Bianca Dahl said: "There was an awareness of her, but in a protective way.

One graduate, Allison Zimmer, said there was "a little bit of an aura" around Watson at the beginning, but that soon faded.

A spokeswoman for the actress had previously said Watson would transfer to another university this autumn to take a course Brown did not offer, but that she might return to Brown for her final year. However, the pixie-haired star, who enrolled at Brown in 2009 to study liberal arts, has since urged people not to speculate as to what she might be doing in September. She said she had not yet decided what to do, including whether or not to spend the third year of her studies abroad.

In March, the actress announced she was taking "a bit of time off" to finish her work on Harry Potter, the final instalment of which is due out in July, and to focus on other professional projects.

"As you know, I love Brown and I love studying, pretty much more than anything, but recently I've had so much to juggle that being a student and fulfilling my other commitments has become a little impossible," she wrote on her website at the time.

She added that she would still be working towards her degree but that it would take her "a semester or two longer".

As well as promoting the summer blockbuster Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, Watson will soon start work in Pittsburgh on The Perks of Being a Wallflower, an adaptation of Stephen Chbosky's coming-of-age novel.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
Legendary blues and rock singer Joe Cocker has died of lung cancer, his management team as confirmed. He was 70
people70-year-old was most famous for 'You are So Beautiful'
News
people
Sport
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho
footballLatest score and Twitter updates
Arts and Entertainment
David Hasselhof in Peter Pan
The US stars who've taken to UK panto, from Hasselhoff to Hall
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Life and Style
Approaching sale shopping in a smart way means that you’ll get the most out of your money
life + styleSales shopping tips and tricks from the experts
News
newsIt was due to be auctioned off for charity
Life and Style
A still from a scene cut from The Interview showing North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's death.
tech
Environment
Sir David Attenborough
environment... as well as a plant and a spider
Voices
'That's the legal bit done. Now on to the ceremony!'
voicesThe fight for marriage equality isn't over yet, says Siobhan Fenton
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Education

The Jenrick Group: Maintenance Planner

£28000 - £32000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: Maintenance...

The Jenrick Group: Project Manager

£35000 per annum + Pension+Bupa: The Jenrick Group: We are recruiting for an e...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £35K - £45K: SThree: SThree Group have been we...

Opilio Recruitment: Product Owner

£40k - 45k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: We are currently recruit...

Day In a Page

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'