Fans Plead with JK Rowling to Change Johnny Depp’s Fantastic Beasts Casting

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Johnny Depp is joining the cast of Harry Potter spinoff Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and J.K. Rowling fans are not happy. Myself included.

Last night Deadline reported the Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales actor would be joining the franchise on November 18th when Fantastic Beasts is released and “playing a co-starring role in the sequel.” The Hollywood Reporter added “Depp will be making a cameo in Fantastic Beasts, but his character is being kept under wraps so audiences will have to keep an eye out.” Hypable says a source told them he’s due to play Gellert Grindelwald, the dark wizard who plagued the wizarding world prior to Voldemort and who we already knew would play a role in the now 5-film franchise.

My immediately reaction was an unhappy one and my sentiments were echoed by a lot of fans, many taking their issues directly to Rowling on Twitter.

If you somehow missed the news earlier this year, actor Amber Heard accused the actor of domestic violence during their marriage. In May she obtained a temporary restraining order against him after providing witnesses and photographs of her bruised face. Depp’s lawyers made a statement saying Heard was “attempting to secure a premature financial resolution by alleging abuse” and like many instances of abuse, the alleged victim was blamed and dragged through the mud for speaking out.

Heard went on to show detractors she wasn’t “in it for the money” by announcing she’d be donating her divorce settlement to two charities. In a joint statement about the divorce Depp confirmed, “Neither party has made false accusations for financial gain.” But before Heard was given the money, Depp decided to donate it himself in what seemed to many to be a power play.

Many will say (as they already have in the replies to most of these tweets) that Depp was not arrested or charged with a crime. But the message is clear, hiring Depp is a bad PR move on Warner Bros. part. Even though the decision to cast him likely happened before the domestic abuse allegations came to light, it looks bad. More and more people are taking a stand and saying they aren’t comfortable supporting something with alleged abusers involved. While the sports world may be willing to “forgive and forget,” fandom remembers.

We know Rowling has a fair bit of pull with Warner Bros. but whether or not she would be able to make an executive decision on Depp’s casting is unknown. There’s also an unfortunate parallel here as there have been reports of alleged abuse in Rowling’s past. She’s certainly spoken out against domestic violence previously but at this point I’m not sure she’d even be allowed to comment publicly on the matter.

This film was already problematic for a lot of devoted fans because of the American wizarding world history Rowling published earlier this year with a significant ignorance as it pertained to Native American culture. The less-than-diverse casting for the main characters didn’t help. Depp’s addition may be the thing that finally gives fans a reason to leave the wizarding world for good.

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  • puritypersimmon

    In Heard’s original lawyers letter she explicitly states that she will not seek a TRO or speak publicly about her allegations provided Depp agree to all her financial demands within 48 hours. These demands included $50 million settlement, indefinite spousal support of $50k per month (even though she had worked throughout the relationship & had upcoming roles so should have easily been able to support herself), three Hollywood condos (purchased before the marriage & not something she was legally entitled to) & a Range Rover. This letter is in the public domain – you can easily check it out. I think the contents rubbish her subsequent claim that ‘it was never about the money.’ They also show that she was using the threats of a TRO & negative publicity as bargaining tools in the divorce; not the action of someone claiming to be fearful for her safety (there was no mention in the letter that Depp be required to stay away from her which one would have thought might be her first priority) & ‘only interested in the pursuit of justice.’ Depp’s legal team were to use the letter as evidence against Heard if the PRO hearing had gone ahead, so clearly they felt that it was pretty damning too. This is just one item in a very long list that raises serious questions about Heard’s credibility. She withdrew all her allegations ‘with prejudice’ – meaning that they can not be re-filed – & agreed to a divorce settlement that bore no comparison to her original demands shortly after Depp’s lawyers had submitted their witness & evidence lists (which were extensive) & she had finally been deposed (having avoided deposition on three previous occasions). It is wrong to label Depp an abuser on the basis of unsubstantiated allegations which his lawyers looked set to refute had Heard chosen to proceed with the hearing. It is wrong to compromise his career on this basis too. Unfortunately a lot of people seem to be ignoring &/or misrepresenting the facts because they do not fit with their own narrative.

  • Took me a while to get to this and I’m sorry there haven’t been more responses. In my old age, I’m disinclined to give people that give me a bit of a nostalgic twirl the ole benefit of the doubt. I wish there was concrete evidence to base my opinion, but without that I can only go with my gut…and my gut puts me firmly in the, “Johnny Depp is an unnecessary addition to this franchise” camp.

  • I think we should screen every actor, stagehand, CGI artist and so on involved in this film. Do a thorough screening. If any have been accused or convicted of spousal abuse, they should not be allowed to take part in this film.

    Or any other film.

    Ever again.

    Only way to be sure.

    We’ll start with spousal abuse, and then expand the list of crimes and sins and so on until Hollywood shuts down. Nuke the planet from orbit. Only way to be sure.

    • Btw, I have no interest in defending Depp. If he did that, it’s pretty freaking awful. I just want a clear idea on where the line is drawn, how far is too far, and at what point we should let the real courts deal with issues.

      If casting Depp is tacit approval/dismissal of his alleged abuse against Heard, then can we extend such logic to politics, which I’d argue are far more important than fluff like blockbuster films? A vote for Trump, for instance, logically by extension a vote for alleged violence against women. A vote for Clinton, on that same vector, a vote for corrupt financial dealings and even, yes, a vote for alleged violence against women, due to how she and Bill conducted themselves against the women speaking out for what Slick Willy did to them?

      • …I would say that a vote for Trump IS in extension a vote for violence against women. So, I agree with you. Way to make a point, sir.

        • Excellent! And I agree! And so is that vote for Hillary Clinton. Catch 22 there.

          Hence my vote for Jill Stein 2016.

          • Then you’re voting for your principles rather than any realm of reality. The world can fall to pieces but at least you know you did the morally right thing.

          • My principles are my reality. The rest of the USA is welcome to burn. It deserves a monster like Trump and a Wall Street establishment crony like Clinton, afaic.

          • As for Fantastic Beasts, well… the HP franchise didn’t really need these movies to begin with. The trailers look good, though. I’ll not base my decision to watch or skip it, though, on Depp’s place in it. I’m sure all the hardworking, creative people working on the film are totally helped by a boycott on it for a tangentially related problem though, right?

          • Nah, I can’t. I can’t read your next message, either. Got as far as “As for Fantastic Beasts.” This is just community college Nietzsche. I’d rather try to communicate with someone that could only speak in farts. I’m just gonna ignore everything else you say.

          • You gotta stay in your wheelhouse, I get it. No worries!

  • Hosh

    So just so we are clear: If you are accused of a crime with no proof arrest or trial you should not be allowed to have a job?

    • Just so we’re clear, literally no one said that. Are we as consumers not allowed to voice our displeasure at something that displeases us?

      • Hosh

        Did you read the article? One linked twit is “Depp stopped being an interesting actor 12 years ago. Also? He is a domestic abuser. We do not want him.”. The writer of the article only talks about his alleged domestic abuse not his acting ability or range. The article is nothing but bashing on him because he was accused of a crime he never committed. If you want to protest he shouldnt be in the movie because you feel his acting will weaken it great if you feel like he shouldnt be in it because you feel people will pay more attention to the find depp game then the script thats fine too. If you want to be displeased because you think it is just a name grab that great.

        However to say he should not be in a movie because an Ex-wife accused him of a crime during a messy divorce with no proof he committed it awhile there is alot of proof to prove innocent then that isnt good or fine.

        • Did I read the article I wrote? Yes, yes I did.

          I’m discussing his casting in the context of how myself and other fans feel about an alleged abuser being cast in a franchise we love.

          You don’t have to care about that but many of us do and will make financial decisions based on it. He’s doing fine for himself, he can act in plenty of movies, we would just prefer if he wasn’t in this one. That’s all.

          • Hosh

            Ok lets look at what you just said and what I said shall we? I said: If you are accused of a crime with no proof arrest or rial yo should not be allowed to have a job. You replied no one said that however in the article you said:

            ” But the message is clear, hiring Depp is a bad PR move on Warner Bros. part. Even though the decision to cast him likely happened before the domestic abuse allegations came to light, it looks bad.”

            That tells us you feel because he was accused he should not get a role AKA a job. You just now said:

            I’m discussing his casting in the context of how myself and other fans feel about an alleged abuser being cast in a franchise we love.

            That again says you feel because he was accused of a crime he should be denied roles or jobs. So thats why I asked did you read your own article you claim no one said he should be denied roles and yet you have said it twice.

          • “If you are accused of a crime with no proof arrest or trial you should not be allowed to have a job?” Again, no one said that. Myself and others said we would prefer him to not have this PARTICULAR job. Do you see the difference there? He’s a famous actor, he’s offered work all the time. We’re not asking he be banned from the workforce, nor do we have that power.

            I believe strongly in believing the victim and things like this pepper my decision to spend money on products. Again, you may disagree and take the fact that he was never formally charged as “he’s innocent” and feel perfectly fine supporting his career. Your prerogative! Have a lovely day/life.

          • Hosh

            I said A job not ANY job A is singular to deny a job now you can say you never said you feel he should not have ANY job but the fact his he is a contract worker each contract is a job you say because of this allegation he should not be allowed in this franchise. What about other franchises? What if he was to play in a new peter pan movie? Or the male lead in a Disney princess movie? Will you deny him those roles as well? The fact is you are trying and hoping to deny him A job because of a crime with no proof.

            I strongly believe in innocent till proven guilty. Thats why I live in america. You need proof that a person is guilty of a crime before sentencing not the public opinion. It will be the same as saying Hillary Clinton shouldn’t be running for president because there is allegations she broke the law. You are not denying her jobs just not THAT job.

          • You’re attacking one of the most moderate and thoughtful responses to what I’m sure to a lot of people is a very hostile and unnerving casting choice. You’re being an Adam Blackhat. Don’t be an Adam Blackhat.

    • Émerson Júnior

      So just so we clear: there are many proofs!
      He’s an abuser, there’s no denying. And yes, he deserves the chance to prove himself a better person, just like anyone.
      I just don’t think THIS is not the moment or franchise to do it.

      It goes against everything JK stands for.

  • I was already not inclined to watch these movies (for all the reasons pointed in the last paragraph, plus: 5 movies? seriously?? ¬¬), casting Depp made my mind about it. I’ll pass.