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David Yates Defends Johnny Depp's Role in the Upcoming 'Fantastic Beasts'

The director doesn't think the actor should be replaced due to domestic abuse allegations.

David Yates Defends Johnny Depp's Role in Upcoming 'Fantastic Beasts'

The title of the Fantastic Beasts sequel is becoming all the more ironic given the controversy surrounding one of its stars. Johnny Depp is slated to play the dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. It's Depp's alleged crimes, however, that continue to make waves. 

Last year, the actor was accused of domestic violence by his wife, Amber Heard

Given the allegations and the substantial (and justified) repercussions facing men accused of serious misconduct in Hollywood, many thought that Depp ought to be replaced in the upcoming sequel.

David Yates Defends Johnny Depp's Role in Upcoming 'Fantastic Beasts'
Warner Bros.

However, Fantastic Beasts and longtime Harry Potter director, David Yates, did not think the accusations against Depp warranted his removal. The director fervently defended Depp in an interview with Entertainment Weekly

“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,” Yates said. “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 also alluded to statements made by Winona Ryder, who was engaged to Depp in the '90s. "He was never, never that way towards me. Never abusive at all towards me," Ryder said of the actor, following Heard's allegations. The director continued by incorporating the age-old "that's not the guy I know" trope. 

“By testament, some of the women in [Depp’s] life have said the same thing — ‘that’s not the human being we know,'” Yates said. “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.”

Yates' has a point in that we are wrong to lump Harvey Weinstein, Louis C.K., Johnny Depp, or any of those accused, as one. Sexual harassment and domestic violence happen at the most personal level, and it is a disservice to the victims to conflate their experiences. Though it may be grueling, we must discern future allegations case by case. 

So let's look at Depp's case, shall we?

Throughout the tumultuous court hearings, images of Heard with a black eye were made public, along with a video of a manic-sounding Depp throwing bottles. The couple ultimately reached a settlement, and released a public statement that their relationship was "intensely passionate and at times volatile, but always bound by love." Heard also pledged to donate her $7 million settlement to the American Civil Liberties Union and the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles.


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