Ever since the allegations of domestic abuse made against Johnny Depp by ex-wife Amber Heard, Harry Potter fans have been confused as to the decision to keep the actor in his role as Grindelwald in the Fantastic Beasts series. Today, author J.K. Rowling has finally broken her silence on the matter.
"Harry Potter fans had legitimate questions and concerns about our choice to continue with Johnny Depp in the role," Rowling said in a statement 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, 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."
As the screenwriter for both Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and its upcoming sequel, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, Rowling is very close to the franchise, saying that “the huge, mutually supportive community that has grown up around Harry Potter is one of the greatest joys of my life.”
Heard's accusations mentioned Depp as being emotionally and physically abusive, offering a video of one of his episodes and a photo of her black eye. Depp dismissed these notions, and ultimately reached a settlement with Heard in 2016 that resulted in the following joint statement: “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.”
While some may have criticized Rowling for her silence until now, as she alludes to, she most likely has been legally unable to speak about the issue until now. She ends her statement with: “I accept that there will be those who are not satisfied with our choice of actor in the title role. 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.”
You can read her full statement here. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is scheduled for release on November 16th, 2018.