JK Rowling has published a statement about casting Johnny Depp as Gellert Grindelwald in the Fantastic Beasts film series, a spinoff of the Harry Potter universe.
After Depp was cast (he appeared in a brief cameo at the end of the first Fantastic Beasts movie), he made headlines over accusations of domestic violence by his ex-wife Amber Heard.
Though Depp denied the allegations, plenty of Potterheads still decried Rowling for featuring an alleged abuser in her films.
“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,” Rowling, after months of silence on the issue, wrote on her website on Thursday.
“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.”
A very vocal Harry Potter fanbase took to Twitter to respond to Rowling. Melissa Anelli of popular fansite the Leaky Cauldron said Rowling’s defence of Depp “makes me very sad” as part of a larger thread.
One user brought up the unfortunate irony that while the character Harry Potter was victim of abuse, an alleged abuser was cast in the movie. “i seriously hope those fans don’t watch the crimes of grindelwald ’cause they already know the crimes of johnny depp,” she said.
Other users, however, shared Rowling’s perspective on the matter. “Virtually nobody has enough info to comment on what is right or wrong about him being cast,” said one tweet. “@jk_rowling knows a little more than that. I trust her integrity.”