As one of the biggest self-proclaimed Harry Potter fan to have ever walked upon this earth, I have been enormously thrilled about filmmakers doing such a fabulous job of adapting Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them for the big screen. With JK Rowling taking charge of the script and brilliant actors like Eddie Redmayne giving us a stunning performance as Newt Scamander, it’s no surprise that Potterheads are all praises for the dream team.
Except for the one major character that is going to play a huge role in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald - Johnny Depp, a.k.a Gellert Grindelwald.
Domestic violence abuse allegations against Johnny Depp made headlines in May earlier this year and shocked fans across the world. Actress Amber Heard, who was then Depp’s wife, filed for a temporary restraining order against the actor for being “verbally and physically abusive” to her through the “entirety” of their relationship. After eight months of court proceedings and hearings, the couple finalised their divorce.
Referring to the same incident, a fan, who goes by the name Lindsey on Twitter, asked JKR why the actor who played Crabbe - which was a minor character in the Harry Potter movies - was fired for doing drugs and yet Johnny Depp, who abused his wife, gets a major role in her movies.
JK Rowling responded to Lindsey by promptly blocking her on Twitter.
JK ROWLING BLOCKED ME pic.twitter.com/UaTkeqAMsW
— Lindsey (@hobbitlindsey) November 29, 2017
The filmmakers of the Fantastic Beasts series are under heavy fire for Depp’s casting in the franchise, especially with the Harvey Weinstein incident and the growing intolerance for harassment against women in the industry.
There has been a large number of people that have condemned Depp for his actions, but an equally significant chunk of people who stand by the actor and defend him quite vocally on public platforms.
there’s just so much to love about #JohnnyDepp .. he is so generous and caring towards everyone around him, he tries so hard to make people feel happy.. and I just wish everyone in the world would acknowledge that and stop believing false accusations. it’s so depressing really pic.twitter.com/wSckarA0h3
— lovejohnnydepp (@depp_grace) November 30, 2017
— IFOD 🎄 (@IfodOnelmstreet) November 29, 2017
"I’ve always tried to do the right thing. I used everything I was given. I had to make it better for the next person.” Thank you @realamberheard for inspiring us everyday...we will always stand by you ❤ #AmberHeard #Allure #brave #fighter #actress #activist #hero #Mera pic.twitter.com/3Bpm9KqAvd
— Amber Heard Italia (@AmberHeardIT) November 30, 2017
— Pinnie (@pinniepix) November 25, 2017
As the debate rages on about the ‘right’ and the ‘wrong’ of the matter, it’s worth discussing the two sides that have brought people to a conflict about the issue at hand.
While on one side, celebrities like JK Rowling have always been the advocate of women’s rights and a strong voice for those affected by sexual assault in the industry, fans are disappointed that she would keep mum about Depp’s allegations, and actually someone for raising important questions in the face of an issue.
At the same time can’t we, as audiences around the world, leave Depp’s personal and private life on the sidelines and pay attention to the kind of performances he brings to the big screen? Based on facts that say charges against him were dropped and evidence that didn’t prove him being guilty of his crime, is it fair to play the blame game at all? Is it also that hard for us to marvel at how he is a phenomenal actor, bringing all of his characters to life with sheer brilliance, without questioning his moral compass at every turn?
This is when we have to ask ourselves the most important question of them all: where is it that we draw the judgemental line between an artist, and his art? Let us know what you think!