Following the many stories coming to light about major players in Hollywood being accused of sexual harassment, there was a strong backlash against the recent reveal that Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald would heavily focus on Johnny Depp’s titular villain. The issue for many people is that Depp was accused of committing an act of domestic violence against his ex-wife Amber Heard last year.
Those involved in the production – including J.K. Rowling, who’s usually very responsive to fans – have ignored the backlash up until now. However, director David Yates – who’s helmed every installment of the Harry Potter franchise since The Order of the Phoenix – has finally broken the silence on the issue. On why he decided to cast Depp, despite knowing of the accusations, Yates made it clear that he stands with the actor on the matter and does not believe Heard’s claims.
“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. 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 went on to explain that, apart from his personal friendship with Depp, the supportive response from previous women in the actor’s life corroborates his belief that he’s innocent. The director is presumably referring to the likes of Vanessa Paradis and Winona Ryder, ex-girlfriends of Depp’s who spoke out in defense of his character.
“By testament, some of the women in [Depp’s] life have said the same thing — ‘that’s not the human being we know. 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.”
Officially, Depp and Heard came to a divorce agreement, with Heard being awarded $7 million dollars, which she donated entirely to charity. The pair also released a dual statement describing their relationship as “intensely passionate and at times volatile, but always bound by love.” Despite this, the incident has left an indelible mark on Depp’s reputation. However, it seems that Yates, the Fantastic Beasts production team, and probably Warner Bros. as well, are standing by the Pirates of the Caribbean star.
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, also featuring Eddie Redmayne, Jude Law, Katherine Waterston, Ezra Miller and more, arrives in theaters on November 16th, 2018.