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just.a.willow.tree

The Issue of... Johnny Depp

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just.a.willow.tree

So this has been an issue that's received a lot of heat lately. Here's what J.K. Rowling had to say about her feelings on keeping Johnny Depp in the franchise, if you haven't read it already. I know this is a pretty touchy subject, but I wanted to hear what this community thought of the situation.

A bit of background, for anyone out of the loop: last year, Johnny Depp was accused by his then-wife Amber Heard of physical abuse. There was a court case dealing with the matter, Depp paid a settlement, and Heard promised to donate the money she received to organizations like the ACLU.

If I'm not wrong, this "why is Johnny Depp still here" problem blew up when J.K. Rowling blocked a few Twitter users who questioned the ethics of supporting an abuser like Johnny Depp. After people began getting frustrated and angry over her silence, she typed up her opinion, linked above, for some damage control. I've read it about five times, at this point, and I still can't quite see what exactly she's trying to defend herself with. Her language is pretty vague. One thing that I'm so baffled about, though, is:

Quote

As David Yates, long-time Potter director, has already said, we naturally considered the possibility of recasting.

Recasting was a possibility, but they didn't take it. I was hoping that the rest of her opinion piece would address the reasons for this, but I'm not seeing anything concrete in here. If anyone has a more insightful interpretation of J.K. Rowling's defense, please share.

My personal opinion on this is, Depp, as a man accused of domestic abuse (with evidence behind the accusations), should not be a major face in Fantastic Beasts. He is facing no consequences at all. Already, what J.K. Rowling said (or didn't say) made me feel somewhat ill about the rest of the film series. I haven't even finished the first one, just because I don't want to see Depp's face and have all my HP feelings curdled.

What do you guys think?

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Dojh167

All if that, plus our one hope of finally getting queer rep in a Potterverse film is soured by him being part of the ship. So much barf. 

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Stella Blue

well worded, sam.

 

I don't think JKRs statement really explained anything. It seems to just say "Because reasons." That's not good enough for me - you'd have to have some pretty convincing reasons to justify keeping an abuser cast in the film, and tbh I don't think any reason could be good enough to convince me. A lot of people are in the film industry are rightfully  having to face consequences for things they've done, and it's ridiculous to me that not only is Johnny Depp spared from that but is starring in a huge film like this. Nothing about that makes sense, nor does the fact that JKR is defending him.

 

Honestly, why didn't they recast him? There are plenty of other talented actors out there who are not abusers.

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abhorsen.

I feel the same way that you do - I'm really, really bothered by this, especially since Rowling has a track record of calling out people for misogyny and predatory behavior - it's really depressing to see her fall into the same trap as a lot of other people (i.e., it doesn't count if it's someone we like/someone that's inconvenient). I feel like she's alluding to knowing mitigating information that the general public doesn't know - and maybe she does, and maybe it's even accurate. For me, though,  it ultimately doesn't matter - the core issue is the message that's being sent to her fans and to the broader public. Allowing Depp to continue as Grindelwald tells us that everyone is a hypocrite and it perpetuates the idea that abusing people can be handwaved away if you like the person, and it rewards him for smearing Amber Heard.

And piggybacking off what Sam said - the fact that Heard's bisexuality kept coming up when she accused him of abuse as though it excused his behavior or made her less of a victim makes me feel so queasy about him being our queer representation. Literally the last person I want waving that flag is the dude who apparently beat his wife for basically 1) not being straight and 2) having female friends.

I'm not sure I'll see the next movie, and if I do, I'm not going to be anywhere near as excited.

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victoria_anne

Obviously I don’t support what he did to Heard, but it has nothing to do with his job or the role he’ll play as Grindelwald. His personal and professional life are seperate and I’m sure he’ll pay for what he did but also play the Grindelwald JK envisioned. 

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abhorsen.
3 hours ago, victoria_anne said:

Obviously I don’t support what he did to Heard, but it has nothing to do with his job or the role he’ll play as Grindelwald. His personal and professional life are seperate and I’m sure he’ll pay for what he did but also play the Grindelwald JK envisioned. 

I understand why some people feel this way, and there are issues that I would agree with you about. However, when we're talking about people who are violent or advocate violence toward others, there are two core problems with it.

1) For as long as we allow people to engage in abusive, racist, misogynistic, or other prejudiced behavior without facing any consequences for their actions, we're incentivizing bad behavior and teaching others that they won't face consequences if they do the same thing. There's no such thing as not taking a side when it comes to domestic abuse - staying out of it is siding with the abuser over the victim, because we're implicitly agreeing with the power structure and societal dynamics that allow them them to engage in that behavior. The only way to change our society is from the ground up, and part of that is shaming people who abuse others - even when it's people we like, and even when it costs us something.

2) Abusive behavior like what Heard described is a frame of mind, not an isolated event. It bleeds over onto others in big ways or in small ways (or both) - just like Matt Lauer's habitual abuse of women clearly played a role in his treatment of Hillary Clinton during the Commander in Chief forum last year, even though he wasn't sexually harassing or assaulting her. I don't know how it shows itself with Depp, but abusing one's wife, smearing her to the press, and using her sexual orientation as an excuse for one's behavior is a pattern of behavior that has to affect people outside of Heard - and both micro and macroaggressions impact the people on set with him. It's irresponsible and shows callousness toward the safety and comfort of the people on the set with him.

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Stella Blue
10 hours ago, abhorsen. said:

Literally the last person I want waving that flag is the dude who apparently beat his wife for basically 1) not being straight and 2) having female friends.

Wow, yeah, this is pretty terrible. I hadn't framed it like that yet but put this way, he is the literal worst choice for this role. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

 

4 hours ago, victoria_anne said:

I’m sure he’ll pay for what he did

I really, really hope you're right. Our society has a tendency to forgive white men for anything, which is just now starting to change in terms of abuse/harassment, but right now there are no consequences for what he did to his wife.

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just.a.willow.tree

Oh, gosh, I didn't even consider the possible biphobia factored in. Has he given signs of being biphobic before? This just makes his casting a million times worse.

Quote

His personal and professional life are seperate and I’m sure he’ll pay for what he did but also play the Grindelwald JK envisioned.

If we were discussing an everyday person, then I can understand this. The thing is, Johnny Depp is so incredibly famous. His face is tied to his profession. Kids (and many teens and adults) still idolize him. They see his face, and they associate it with a really awesome Jack Sparrow, or Edward Scissorhands, or whatever role is assigned to him. I don't think it's right for us to keep Depp in a place where people will still adore him, especially since he's been violent.

Currently, he's not paying for what he did, and if he's not now, I doubt he will later. He's being awarded the position of a major face in Fantastic Beasts, and he's almost certainly going to get much richer from all of this.

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TidalDragon

IMO it's a mistake to continue the cognitive contortion that we can actually effectively compartmentalize the personal and professional at every level. The reality is that unless the person at issue is an absolute exception to about ninety-seven percent (97%) of humanity, they can't compartmentalize either. That gives us the kind of bleed-over that Branwen mentions - or worse - the actual actions perpetrated in one (1) shell are repeated in the other.

Still, the tension I do have is between needing to protect all women and marginalized groups from further abuse and discrimination and the precious right to the presumption of innocence that is at the bedrock of our country. In many of the recent cases there has been strong evidence (whether photographic, seemingly corroborative allegations, and in some cases admissions - or half-admissions - even if an apology was pathetically absent) of not just isolated instances, but a pervasive pattern or mindset of entitlement and predation. And then as I contemplate the presumption, I'm still further torn by the system that can be used to overturn it and how many people it has failed - and continues to fail - daily.

In the end, I hope that the bravery of all the people of all stripes who have come forward to shed light on abuse and discrimination can show the shrinking minority that we are dealing with a systemic problems that need systemic solutions. When creating those solutions, I think we have to be mindful that the presumption of innocence needs to live on. But the attitudes and flaws in the system that allow or encourage this conduct to continue must die.

Update: Having found the filings and photos in Depp's case, I can join in the outcry. As I had previously noted before editing, I knew next to nothing about this particular situation, but knowing what I know now the decision is unjustifiable. I've seen Amber Heard's face and eyes in those photos daily - just somewhere else. Those bruises and deadened, almost defeated eyes - even in "victory" come in different colors, shapes, sizes, and states where I work every day, but they're instantly recognizable. I stand by all of the above, but in this particular situation, let's just say I can see why they settled the case - and why a DVPO was granted.

Edited by TidalDragon
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just.a.willow.tree

One of the most difficult things for me is talking to people around me who steadfastly refuse to believe Amber Heard's case. How do you convince someone who's seen the evidence that it's not fake, and that it's important to listen at times like this?

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abhorsen.

Re: biphobia - outside of his abuse, I haven't heard of anything, but given the abuse, it wouldn't shock me. (Also, tangential, but this moment to mention that bi women are far more likely to be abused or assaulted by an intimate partner than straight women or lesbians.)

Re: presumption of innocence - for me, the balancing act revolves around legal vs. social consequences. I absolutely agree that there's a legal presumption of innocence, and it's a core part of our society, but I don't think that extends to social situations as well, especially since that gets paradoxical really quickly. If we're talking about a general presumption of innocence rather than a strictly legal one, weighting the balance toward people accused of wrongdoing doesn't make a whole lot of sense - and that's what's happening if we don't extend the presumption of innocence to people making accusations, too.

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Renacerá

I am literally so happy I found this thread. I've been internally shrieking for days now. So, I'll try not to get too ranty, but here we go:

 

Let's start off by saying that I'm a bi/pan woman, so that's where I'm coming from if you'd like to have my "prejudice" on the table.

I get that Johnny Depp is popular. I wish I could say was popular, but that's just not the case. People love him (for whatever reason). But here are some thoughts I have on all that (ranging from the mundane to the really, really important):

  1. As an actor, he's a one-trick pony and wrong for the role of Grindelwald. He's been incapable of playing a role other than "Jack Sparrow with different makeup" for a dozen years. He's not handsome anymore. He's too old. He's not right for the role.
  2. Given that, we can assume he was cast for name recognition and, the all important thing in media, money. (We'll come back to this.)
  3. He abused Amber Heard. He was not "found innocent" of it. They settled out of court. That means we can societally presume guilt, if we so choose. (See Branwen's mention of legal vs. social presumption of innocence above.) If you haven't seen the photos of her bruises, go look them up. What would she gain from lying? She donated the money she got from the settlement. She would know that he would have industry and societal support over her, so you can't say she was trying to ruin his career (she clearly hasn't), so what would she gain from lying?
  4. Now, there will always be someone pointing out that she was accused/arrested for abusing her ex-girlfriend. I don't know much about this. But if it's true, it doesn't change that Johnny Depp abused her. Just because she isn't a gem of a human either (allegedly) doesn't forgive his treatment of her.
  5. So, why does no one care? Well, because he's popular and white and he's still a big name.

Now, we need to go into the matter at hand.

  1. If we assume that Depp was cast as a matter of name recognition and the money he can bring in, why wouldn't he be recast when allegations of abuse arose? Jo Rowling admits they considered it, but they decided against it. Which means: they care more about money than victims of abuse.
  2. Why do I conclude this? Well, Rowling has been outspoken against this sort of abuse and lack of consequences for abusers. So maybe she thinks he didn't do it? Guess what: that doesn't matter. Largely, we can societally presume guilt (see above), which means that victims of abuse are likely to see him as an abuser who now has no consequences for abusing someone. It no longer matters whether or not he was legally guilty!
  3. So now we have an alleged abuser who is publically suffering no consequences, which discourages victims from coming forward, and now victims see someone as prominent as JO ROWLING supporting this type of abuser and his behavior! PUBLICALLY. The effect on victims is so terrible and negative that I cannot even begin to imagine the extent of the hurt her statement will cause.

In conclusion:

  1. Jo Rowling, David Heyman, and David Yates care more about money than showing support for victims of abuse.
  2. Johnny Depp is trash.
  3. Jo Rowling is trash.
  4. Everyone is trash.
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abhorsen.
31 minutes ago, Renacerá said:

Why do I conclude this? Well, Rowling has been outspoken against this sort of abuse and lack of consequences for abusers. So maybe she thinks he didn't do it? Guess what: that doesn't matter. Largely, we can societally presume guilt (see above), which means that victims of abuse are likely to see him as an abuser who now has no consequences for abusing someone. It no longer matters whether or not he was legally guilty!

Thisthisthisthisthis.

And like... Johnny Depp would be just effing fine if his role in Fantastic Beasts was recast. He's an incredibly rich man. If he never got cast in a movie again (I wish), he would still be fine, because at his age, not working anymore is what the rest of us call retirement. If a rich dude has to retire because he beat up his wife for being bi, any sleep I lose is going to be that retirement is the most punishment he'll get.

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clevernotbrilliant

I have so many thoughts on this, I've been yelling about it to Julie for days now.

I am severely disappointed and frustrated with anyone who was part of the decision to 1) cast Depp in the first place (the abuse took place long before the first FB even premiered) and 2) not recast him especially with the current focus on the subject. There is absolutely no possible excuse that anyone could give me to make me believe that they couldn't recast him since there's still a year before the movie drops and Riddley Scott recently recast Kevin Spacey with only a month (a month) until the move premieres. Sure, Depp is talented, but there are hundreds of other talented actors (Collin Farrell) who could play Grindelwald that aren't accused of abusing their spouses.

1 hour ago, Renacerá said:

If we assume that Depp was cast as a matter of name recognition and the money he can bring in, why wouldn't he be recast when allegations of abuse arose? Jo Rowling admits they considered it, but they decided against it. Which means: they care more about money than victims of abuse.

This is the part that kills me the most, because I know that they kept him for the money and the name recognition, but there was no reason to. Jude Law, Eddie Redmayne, and Zoe Kravitz have more than enough name recognition between them and at least for me, I wanted to see the second movie because of Eddie and how he played Newt. 

As much as it pains me to say it because I love everyone else attached to it, I really hope that this movie doesn't do half as well as they're hoping just to make a point that this kind of behavior is not acceptable.

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Renacerá
25 minutes ago, clevernotbrilliant said:

As much as it pains me to say it because I love everyone else attached to it, I really hope that this movie doesn't do half as well as they're hoping just to make a point that this kind of behavior is not acceptable.

I completely agree with everything you said, but especially that quoted part above. They absolutely could have recast; they just didn't want to. Their reasons aren't important. What's important is how this looks to victims and the public in general. And the only retribution will be if their movie doesn't make the money they want it to. But it will, because it's Harry Potter. And there are so many other people on the cast and crew who don't deserve it to fail, but what else are we supposed to want? More money in Depp and Rowling's pockets over this decision? I feel bad for wanting the movie to do badly (because I know that it'll mean other actors and crew members suffer), but I'm just so angry about this that I don't know where else to place my feelings.

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MadiMalfoy
5 hours ago, Renacerá said:

I completely agree with everything you said, but especially that quoted part above. They absolutely could have recast; they just didn't want to. Their reasons aren't important. What's important is how this looks to victims and the public in general. And the only retribution will be if their movie doesn't make the money they want it to. But it will, because it's Harry Potter. And there are so many other people on the cast and crew who don't deserve it to fail, but what else are we supposed to want? More money in Depp and Rowling's pockets over this decision? I feel bad for wanting the movie to do badly (because I know that it'll mean other actors and crew members suffer), but I'm just so angry about this that I don't know where else to place my feelings.

I agree with everything said above. Also, I don't want the rest of the cast and crew to be viewed poorly because they had no power over the decision to cast Depp. Has anyone thought of a way that we could support everyone else working on the film besides Depp, JKR, and David Heyman? I'd love to participate in that to show that we still love Eddie, Jude, Zoe, and the rest of the cast.

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just.a.willow.tree

Honestly, anything J.K. Rowling does these days decreases my love for HP. She just keeps making mistake after mistake, refuses to listen to her fans when they speak out against her BS, and continues making boatloads of money. It makes me seethe to know that she'll still gain a ridiculous amount of money from this, no matter how unethical her decision is, just because HP has grown so large that there is no way she won't earn millions.

6 hours ago, abhorsen. said:

Johnny Depp would be just effing fine if his role in Fantastic Beasts was recast. He's an incredibly rich man. If he never got cast in a movie again (I wish), he would still be fine, because at his age, not working anymore is what the rest of us call retirement. If a rich dude has to retire because he beat up his wife for being bi, any sleep I lose is going to be that retirement is the most punishment he'll get.

EXACTLY. He will die a rich man, even if he never works a single day for the rest of his life. His die-hard fans are acting as though he's going to starve if he doesn't keep this job, but Johnny Depp will be perfectly alright for the remainder of his sorry life. I also hate that they keep bringing up Amber Heard's past (and blowing it out of proportion, as well). According to this article,  the abuse Amber Heard was accused of was disputed by her then-girlfriend, who said that the officers began acting homophobic after they discovered Heard and her girlfriend were dating. I'm just so furious and sick to death of everyone trying to defend Johnny Depp's disgusting actions.

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Shadowkat678
On 12/8/2017 at 12:15 AM, just.a.willow.tree said:

 Already, what J.K. Rowling said (or didn't say) made me feel somewhat ill about the rest of the film series. I haven't even finished the first one, just because I don't want to see Depp's face and have all my HP feelings curdled.

I'm probably still going to see it, because there's a lot of other major actors who are amazing people, and I don't want Depp to ruin it for them. Besides, the movie itself was pretty good for me. If they added more diversity and would refrain from using mythology they don't know about, it'd be excellent. 

On another note, with all the makeup and stuff he had on I didn't even recognize him as Depp at first when he was revealed for the second movie. Don't remember if I realized it with the first...

Edited by Shadowkat678
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PaulaTheProkaryote

I'm glad you said something here because I'm feeling it pretty strongly too. I was iffy on the first movie, but I went ahead and saw it and now I'm not at all convinced I'll be seeing the next one. I'm very, very disenchanted with JKR and the whole franchise right now. To me he should have been recasted from the get go (also his role was so minuscule in it I don't think it would have been very difficult to reshoot but also i have no concept of filmmaking and the legal stuff and the logistics so what do i know), but now with all of this backlash I'm hoping they'll be shamed into reconsidering. 

 

Ignoring all the obvious and serious social issues, I can't even envision him as Grindelwald. like who even decided that he looks like jack frost

tumblr_olhu3v6DvE1rkd2bio1_500.gif

jack_frost_gif_by_onceuponaparadise-d5lr

Edited by PaulaTheProkaryote
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Renacerá
56 minutes ago, PaulaTheProkaryote said:

...I have no concept of filmmaking and the legal stuff and the logistics so what do i know), but now with all of this backlash I'm hoping they'll be shamed into reconsidering. 

 

Ignoring all the obvious and serious social issues, I can't even envision him as Grindelwald. like who even decided that he looks like jack frost

To both of these points:

I really do assume part of this is also about some contract Depp secured before the scandal broke / earlier enough that the producers would have had to pay him a bunch of money anyway, and they're greedy and don't want to do that.

 

Also, omg yes. Why does he look so terrible??? Because honestly, you're telling me this guy

Image result for grindelwald jamie campbell

looks like THIS

Image result for grindelwald johnny depp

 

after only a few years???? Gtfo, that's nonsense.

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just.a.willow.tree

Since we're criticizing the casting decision beyond the already-pretty-awful "he's an abuser" point,  I would just like to say that Johnny Depp is way too old to play this part. Isn't this story supposed to be telling the tale of Dumbledore and Grindelwald in their prime, when they're first messing around and experimenting with different types of magic? Johnny Depp looks two hundred years old in that photo. Certainly past his prime.

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Stella Blue
22 hours ago, PaulaTheProkaryote said:

his role was so minuscule in it I don't think it would have been very difficult to reshoot but also i have no concept of filmmaking and the legal stuff and the logistics so what do i know

I know little about filmmaking either but I don't think one has to know a lot about filmmaking to know that it's possible. After all, Ridley Scott replaced Kevin Spacey in a major role with only a month until the release of All the Money in the World, so... the least they could have done for FB is recast Johnny Depp for this. Who cares if he had a contract. So did Kevin Spacey for House of Cards, I'm sure.

 

Also agreed about the fact that Depp just looks wrong for the role. There is no way in which Grindelwald should resemble a troll doll, but alas, here we are.

Image resultSee the source image

 

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PaulaTheProkaryote

Since we all seem to be at least reasonably displeased with the Depp situation I think y'all would like this buzzfeed post (M for the comment section which is toxic, stay out)

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abhorsen.

I'm cracking up at that, Paula! Thank you! <3

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Shadowkat678

I can't even see the comment section on mobile but I love that article. xD

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