The Harry Potter author, who is known as a champion for women and minority groups, came under fire after Depp was cast as Grindelwald in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. The decision surprised many fans who wondered why Rowling would support assigning Depp a starring role given his sketchy history. In 2016, the actor was accused of domestic abuse by former wife Amber Heard.
Not only did Heard provide photo and video evidence of this abuse, but Depp’s friends and business associates corroborated the claim that he was mentally and emotionally unstable. Heard went on to be awarded a $7 million settlement, donating it to charity in full.
The negative response was overwhelming.
Warner Bros. also issued a statement on the casting choice that reflected Rowling’s statement:
Given her long history of support for victims, it’s a slap in the face that an accused abuser would be granted such an important role in Rowling’s story.