Fans Aren't Happy With J.K. Rowling's Explanation to Keep Johnny Depp in 'Fantastic Beasts'
J.K. Rowling released a statement on her website Thursday showing support for the decision to cast Johnny Depp as Grindelwald in “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.” Some fans of the Harry Potter spin-off are upset with Rowling’s explanation and support of Depp, who has been accused of domestic violence against ex-wife Amber Heard.
Rowling said in her statement that she was “genuinely happy” with the casting of Depp, though she was “deeply concerned” when the allegations of domestic abuse arose a few months before the premiere of “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” which Depp had a small role in.
“Harry Potter fans had legitimate questions and concerns about our choice to continue with Johnny Depp in the role,” she said in the statement. “As David Yates, long-time Potter director, has already said, we naturally considered the possibility of recasting. I understand why some have been confused and angry about why that didn’t happen.”
Rowling continued, “For me personally, the inability to speak openly to fans about this issue has been difficult, frustrating and at times painful. However, the agreements that have been put in place to protect the privacy of two people, both of whom have expressed a desire to get on with their lives, must be respected.”
Many fans, including abuse survivors, have publicly denounced the author’s statement and seeming support of Depp.
Yes, also a survivor of intimate partner violence, this sentence absolutely gutted me. Of course both parties want to "move on". But that doesn't mean we forget or ignore. It's basically shrugging your shoulders and saying… well, they don't want to think about it so we're good!
— Dara Murray (@Dara_Laine) December 7, 2017
He’s an abuser. And what’s his punishment? Being part of a big movie, in a big caracter, because they keep protecting him. That’s why the fans don’t want him as Grindewald, we don’t want abusers being protected anymore. But he, as many others, kept his lives like nothing happend
— Iza Scaramuza (@IzaScaramuza) December 7, 2017
To add… J.K., your books got me through that aforementioned domestic violence. I understand you aren’t in control of the casting, but to hear a statement of support from a woman who got me through literal hell is beyond gutting to me.
— C H E L S E A ???? (@cdisquick) December 7, 2017
Well I’m glad you feel comfortable and happy employing an abuser. Good for you. So many films have actually halted production to avoid working with an abuser but you can’t recast a character we saw Depp play for a split second? I’m so very disappointed.
— Kayla (@kaylagrieger) December 7, 2017
As a fan of Harry Potter, admirer of JK Rowling, and survivor of prolonged and violent domestic abuse, this statement makes me incredibly sad. It should go without saying that abusive men should not be cast in children’s movies.
— Caffee (@Cafwee) December 7, 2017
You’re confortable and happy to protect an abuser, to give him work and money and fame. That’s a terrible message for victims, I don’t think I’ve ever been more disappointed in my entire life.
— louise (@oh_my_louise) December 7, 2017
Depp has been silent on the casting issue but has denied abuse allegations in the past. Heard and Depp reached a settlement in their divorce, and Heard dismissed the domestic violence allegations. The two issued a joint statement, stating that neither party made false accusations for financial gain and that there was never intent of physical or emotional harm. Heard donated the 7 million she received to the ACLU, with a focus on stopping violence against women, and to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.
While domestic violence and assault allegations against prominent members of society may have been swept under the rug in the past, the #metoo movement has moved the conversation somewhat out of hiding. Some of those who sexually and physically assault or harass others are now being held accountable. Harvey Weinstein is just one prominent Hollywood name to have felt the repercussion of his actions.
If you or a loved one is affected by domestic violence or emotional abuse and need help, call The National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233.