Culture

J.K. Rowling Has Finally Addressed Criticism Over Johnny Depp’s Casting And Fans Are Not Happy

"J.K Rowling has worked so systematically and methodically to destroy my love of her creation."

This article discusses domestic violence.

After facing persistent and passionate criticism of the decision to cast Johnny Depp in the second Fantastic Beasts film, J.K. Rowling has issued a full statement outlining her views. You’re not going to love it.

“The huge, mutually supportive community that has grown up around Harry Potter is one of the greatest joys of my life,” she wrote in a post on her website. “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 [Amber Heard and Johnny Depp], both of whom have expressed a desire to get on with their lives, must be respected.

“Based on our understanding of the circumstances, the filmmakers and I are not only comfortable sticking with our original casting, but genuinely happy to have Johnny playing a major character in the movies.”

The circumstances Rowling is speaking of are this: Johnny Depp was accused of domestic violence last year by his then-wife Amber Heard. Heard claimed the actor had repeatedly emotionally and physically abused her during their two-year marriage. She obtained a temporary restraining order and a number of disturbing photos, videos and correspondences were leaked to the media as supporting material for her claims.

Johnny Depp denied all allegations. The couple settled their divorce, and Heard was granted a $7 million settlement which she donated in full to the American Civil Liberties Union (specifically the arm that supports survivors of domestic violence) and a children’s hospital.

This all happened just a few months prior to Depp’s surprise cameo in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Fans were not stoked to see him, though some were understanding; casting decisions are made more than a year in advance after all. Then it became clear the filmmakers had also locked him in for a major role in the sequel and showed no signs of changing

In a recent interview, director David Yates called the alleged abuse “a dead issue” and claimed Depp was in fact a good man. No one involved in the production seemed to have reservations with Johnny Depp playing the lead in The Crimes of Grindelwald.

That’s where Rowling comes in.

J.K. Rowling has always actively stood as ambassador for both the world and the values of Harry Potter, and inviting an alleged abuser into the inner circle seemed to be a direct violation of this. Harry Potter is one of the world’s most beloved stories of good versus evil; it’s the story of an outcast who was systematically abused going on to find love and strength. It’s a story that matters to its fans, and they wanted answers.

Rowling has acknowledged this stating, “Harry Potter fans had legitimate questions and concerns about our choice to continue with Depp in the role”. But ultimately, she’s made it clear it’s not up to them.

“I accept that there will be those who are not satisfied with our choice of actor in the title role,” she wrote. “However, conscience isn’t governable by committee. Within the fictional world and outside it, we all have to do what we believe to be the right thing.”

Here’s how it’s going down:

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald hits cinemas November 16, 2018. This definitely won’t be the last we hear about the issue.


If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, domestic or family violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit 1800RESPECT.org.auIn an emergency, call 000.

Men can access anonymous confidential telephone counselling to help to stop using violent and controlling behaviour through the Men’s Referral Service on 1300 766 491.