Johnny Depp will no longer appear as Gellert Grindelwald in the Fantastic Beasts film franchise. He made the announcement on social media, writing: “I wish to let you know that I have been asked to resign by Warner Bros. from my role as Grindelwald in ‘Fantastic Beasts’ and I have respected and agreed to that request.”
The decision comes on the heels of Depp losing his libel case against The Sun, a British tabloid that a judge ruled was correct in dubbing him a “wife beater.” Depp, who was married to Amber Heard at the time, launched a widely publicized case after the 2018 article calling him an abuser, with both Heard and Depp exchanging accusations of domestic violence and drug and alcohol abuse in court.
He concluded: “The surreal judgement of the court in the U.K. will not change my fight to tell the truth and I confirm that I plan to appeal. My resolve remains strong and I intend to prove that the allegations against me are false. My life and career will not be defined by this moment in time.”
Warner Bros. confirmed Depp’s departure, saying that his role would be recast. The upcoming entry of the Harry Potter spinoff has been pushed to the summer of 2022 from November of 2021.
Social media was split, with many claiming he was the victim, not the perpetrator. One user wrote: “Johnny Depp was yelled at, beaten, mutilated, tortured, falsely accused by his abuser of crimes commited against him, he lost jobs, almost lost his life & is fighting for his reputation against a system that glorifies female abusers like Amber Heard. NEVER FORGET, NEVER FORGIVE.”
Fantastic Beasts generated more than $800M at the box office, and the sequel brought in $654M. When Heard initially accused Depp of abusing her, Fantastic Beasts author JK Rowling and Warner Bros. opted to stick by him.