'Fantastic Beasts' director defends Johnny Depp's casting

The actor plays Gellert Grindelwald in the "Fantastic Beasts" movies, which take place in the "Harry Potter" universe.
By Annie Martin  |  Nov. 29, 2017 at 12:19 PM
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Nov. 29 (UPI) -- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them director David Yates stands by the decision to cast Johnny Depp in the film series.

The 54-year-old British filmmaker said in an interview with Entertainment Weekly that he considers Amber Heard's accusations of abuse against Depp, who plays Gellert Grindelwald in the movies, to be "a dead issue."

"Honestly, there's an issue at the moment where there's a lot of people being accused of things, they're being accused by multiple victims, and it's compelling and frightening," Yates said. "With Johnny, it seems to me there was one person who took a pop at him and claimed something."

"I can only tell you about the man I see every day: He's full of decency and kindness, and that's all I see. Whatever accusation was out there doesn't tally with the kind of human being I've been working with," he added.

Yates brought up Depp's ex-partners Vanessa Paradis, Lori Anne Allison and Winona Ryder, who have also supported the actor. Ryder told Time in June 2016 that Depp was "never abusive at all" toward her.

"By testament, some of the women in [Depp's] life have said the same thing -- 'that's not the human being we know,'" Yates said. "It's very different [than] cases where there are multiple accusers over many years that need to be examined and we need to reflect on our industry that allows that to roll on year in and year out."

"Johnny isn't in that category in any shape or form," he asserted. "So to me, it doesn't bear any more analysis. It's a dead issue."

Fans slammed Yates on Twitter following his comments about Depp, with many declaring the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them sequel, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, to be "canceled."

"Annnnd just like that fantastic beats is CANCELLED:)," one person tweeted Tuesday.

"David Yates' justification for having Johnny Depp in Fantastic Beasts 2 is every bit as weak as Ron Weasley's magic skills," another added Wednesday.

Heard had accused Depp of abuse while filing for divorce from the actor in May 2016. The pair reached a settlement in August 2016, with Heard announcing the same month that she will donate her $7 million settlement to charity.

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