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J.K. Rowling Defends Casting Johnny Depp in ‘Fantastic Beasts’ After Amber Heard’s Abuse Allegations

J.K. Rowling and Johnny DeppKarwai Tang/WireImage(2)

J.K. Rowling is standing by her decision to keep Johnny Depp in the Fantastic Beasts cast playing villain Gellert Grindelwald, even after ex-wife Amber Heard accused him of abuse amid their divorce.

Related: Hollywood’s Ugliest Divorces

The Harry Potter author took to her website on Thursday, December 7, to release a statement, defending her choice to not recast the role. Rowling, 52, tweeted a link to her website, writing: “I’m saying what I can about the Grindelwald casting issue here.”

“When Johnny Depp was cast as Grindelwald, I thought he’d be wonderful in the role. However, around the time of filming his cameo in the first movie, stories had appeared in the press that deeply concerned me and everyone most closely involved in the franchise,” she explained, referring to Heard’s claims that Depp physically and verbally abused her.

The author echoed film producer David Yates‘ previous statement, saying that they “naturally considered” recasting and that she understands why some fans are upset when that didn’t happen. “The huge, mutually supportive community that has grown up around Harry Potter is one of the greatest joys of my life. For me personally, the inability to speak openly to fans about this issue has been difficult, frustrating and at times painful,” she wrote.

Related: Harry Potter Stars: Then & Now

“However, the agreements that have been put in place to protect the privacy of two people, both of whom have expressed a desire to get on with their lives, must be respected,” she continued. “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 shared that she understands that not all fans will agree with her decision but she believes it’s the “right” choice. “I’ve loved writing the first two screenplays and I can’t wait for fans to see The Crimes of Grindelwald. I accept that there will be those who are not satisfied with our choice of actor in the title role,” she wrote. “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.”

Fantastic Beasts The Crimes of Grindelwald
The cast of ‘Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.’

Related: Johnny Depp and Amber Heard: The Way They Were

As Us Weekly previously reported, Depp and Heard settled their divorce case in August 2016 after nearly three months of abuse allegations. The actress was granted a temporary domestic violence restraining order against the Pirates of the Caribbean star in May 2016 after she filed for divorce and accused him of being abusive throughout their four-year relationship. The actor’s lawyer denied the allegations and accused Heard, 31, of “attempting to secure” financial security with her claims.

The former couple released a joint statement to Us Weekly after settling their divorce: “Our relationship was intensely passionate and at times volatile, but always bound by love. Neither party has made false accusations for financial gain. There was never any intent of physical or emotional harm. Amber wishes the best for Johnny in the future. Amber will be donating financial proceeds from the divorce to a charity.”

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is set to be released in theaters on November 16, 2018.

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