I’ve loved the Harry Potter series for as long as I can remember. When I was six, my mom started reading the books to me on our porch, and as I got older, I started attending the movie premieres in full costume and staying up past my bedtime to buy the newest books at midnight. Like so many others, Harry Potter was the best thing in my life.
When the series came to a close and the movies were finished, I woke up at 3 a.m. EST to sign up for Pottermore, and I lived vicariously through JK Rowling’s additional content. I’m one of the people who loves Cursed Child no matter how ridiculous the play was, and I bought tickets to see Fantastic Beasts as soon Fandango started offering them.
Harry Potter is such an incredible franchise, and the actors who participate in all of JK Rowling’s work have the powerful ability to spread messages and be heard. Take Emma Watson, for example, who speaks out in favor of He For She, leaves feminist books on the London Underground, and walked off the set of a movie because she didn’t approve of the rape jokes in the script. Most recently, Devon Murray spoke out about his battle with depression. The actors who work on Rowling’s sets have a platform, an audience, and the ability to empower people all around the world.
JK Rowling so obviously condemns abuse (from Umbridge to Tom Riddle to the Dursleys) that it’s hard to believe that Johnny Depp was just cast as a young-ish Gellert Grindelwald in the Fantastic Beasts sequel.
In case you missed it, rumors and a case against Johnny Depp regarding alleged physical abuse surfaced a few months ago. Although Amber Heard and Depp have settled their conflict through a divorce agreement, I personally find that the situation is remarkably similar to the rape allegation made (and subsequently, dropped) against president-elect Trump.
Women are often told that their abuse claims are not valid unless reported, yet their reported claims don’t often result in convictions. Even worse, when convictions occur, they frequently bear miniscule punishments. Take, for instance, Emily Doe’s testimony that she was assaulted after a Stanford Party, and Brock Turner’s subsequent conviction… I’m still using the same mascara from before Brock Turner began serving his jail time.
JK Rowling has confirmed numerous times that she suffered from extreme depression, and has said that there were instances of domestic abuse in her marriage. She was very fast to speak out against Donald Trump, even equating him to Voldemort (rightfully so in my opinion), but she did not until recently issue a statement defending Johnny Depp’s casting in her new movie. In her statement, she said, “Watching Johnny create a character is really quite remarkable, it’s fascinating. It’s great as a writer to work with people like that.”
David Heyman, the producer for some of the Harry Potter films and now the Fantastic Beasts movies, admitted that Depp was cast and his cameo in the first movie filmed before any of the allegations of domestic abuse occurred. Still, he defended Depp’s portrayal in future movies, saying, “Here’s the thing: Misogyny, abuse, maltreatment of people is unacceptable — but none of us know what happened in that room. So I think it would be unfair for me to be judge and jury, or for any of us to be judge and jury.”
I think that’s a poor excuse, and Johnny Depp’s career shouldn’t continue to thrive (particularly not with such a highly regarded creative team, with the ability to have such an impact on its viewers) after such serious domestic allegations.
Maybe it’s just me, but I never thought Johnny Depp was that great anyway. Don’t you think Ralph Fiennes would be an excellent choice?