The Fantastic Beasts’ team is breaking their silence and speaking out about the controversial decision to keep Johnny Depp in the movie for the upcoming sequel.
Ever since Warner Bros. re-confirmed earlier this month that Johnny Depp would star in next year’s Harry Potter prequel, Fanatic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, there has been a significant pushback against the movie on social media due to Depp’s ex-wife Amber Heard domestic violence allegations against the actor two years ago. Depp’s evil wizard character Gellert Grindelwald was seen very briefly in 2016’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, but will have a more significant role in the next film as its villainous character.
Harry Potter director David Yates is in the middle of shooting the sequel in London and spoke to Entertainment Weekly about Depp’s participation in the movie.
“Honestly, there’s an issue at the moment where there’s a lot of people being accused of things, they’re being accused by multiple victims, and it’s compelling and frightening,” Yates said. “With Johnny, it seems to me there was one person who took a pop at him and claimed something. I can only tell you about the man I see every day: He’s full of decency and kindness, and that’s all I see. Whatever accusation was out there doesn’t tally with the kind of human being I’ve been working with.”
Yates added several of Depp’s exes had come forward to defend the actor, including Vanessa Paradis, Lori Anne Allison, and Winona Ryder, who said Depp was “never abusive at all … I only know him as a really good, loving, caring guy” during their four-year relationship.
“By testament, some of the women in [Depp’s] life have said the same thing — ‘that’s not the human being we know,’” Yates said. “It’s very different [than cases] where there are multiple accusers over many years that need to be examined, and we need to reflect on our industry that allows that to roll on year in and year out. Johnny isn’t in that category in any shape or form. So to me, it doesn’t bear any more analysis. It’s a dead issue.”
Previously Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling, who is known for promoting social causes, said she’s “delighted” in Depp’s casting but has not addressed the controversy.
Amber Heard previously accused Depp of emotionally and physically abusive behavior during their one-year marriage. She also released a video of Depp upset and a photo of herself with a black eye. Depp called the reports “salacious false stories, gossip, misinformation, and lies.” The two settled in 2016 and issued a joint statement reading, “Our relationship was intensely passionate and at times volatile, but always bound by love. Neither party has made false accusations for financial gain. There was never any intent of physical or emotional harm.”