Reactions To J.K. Rowling’s Johnny Depp Statement Make Clear Where Her Fans Draw The Line
Harry Potter has long maintained a mass of fervent, devoted followers, but reactions to J.K. Rowling's Johnny Depp statement show that even a fandom that faithful has its boundaries, and now, they've near-unanimously been crossed. After an extended period of silence, Rowling finally responded to urges to address Depp's casting in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, for which he'll reprise his role as the titular dark wizard after making a cameo in last year's Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them.
The decision to keep Depp onboard has been widely controversial, as the first Fantastic Beasts arrived in theaters only months after his ex-wife Amber Heard accused him of domestic abuse during their 2016 divorce. Depp ended up agreeing to a $7 million settlement, and in a joint statement released to TMZ, both actors claimed that Heard planned to donate the money to charity and that "there was never an intent of physical or emotional harm."
Nonetheless, fans have been skeptical about Depp's involvement, prompting the film's team to publicly address the backlash. Fantastic Beasts director David Yates called the matter a "dead issue" during an interview with Entertainment Weekly late last month, and on Thursday, Rowling also weighed in. "I'm saying what I can about the Grindelwald casting issue here," she tweeted along with a link to a longer statement on her website. (Rowling's rep told Bustle this is the only comment she will be making on the matter.) Rowling wrote that the allegations surrounding Depp "deeply concerned" her, and that while they considered recasting, they ultimately decided to keep Depp in the part. She continued:
Viewers, however, were outraged by Rowling's response, and soon took to Twitter to air their disdain.
Some Compared Her To Lena Dunham
Lena Dunham and JK Rowling racing to see who can release the most problematic, tone-deaf and faux-feminist statement of 2017 https://t.co/OBvM9HFOF0— (@louisstaples) #
JK Rowling joins Lena Dunham and Kate Winslet in the "I believe women except for when I don't feel like it" dustbin.— (@lizzylaurie) #
Dunham, an outspoken feminist, also came under fire last month after supporting Girls writer Murray Miller when he was accused of sexual assault. (Murray has denied the claims, but Dunham later apologized for coming to his defense.)
These People Called For A Boycott
dont care if you love harry potter since you were a child, jk rowling and the filmmakers of fantastic beasts not only support an abuser on the cast, but ARE HAPPY with him there do to give your money to this film dont watch on the movie theater thats the only way to affect them— (@gvnegirl) #
JK Rowling is cancelled for me. Good luck supporting domestic abusers, as for me I'm going to be very happy not supporting that movie.— (@winterromanoff) #
That's one way to protest.
While Others Pointed Out The Impact Of Rowling's Words
@kuaku_yushi @jk_rowling I think the worst part is that if you check the #JohnnyDeppIsMyGrindelwald tag so many people have interpreted JKR's statement as some kind of "proof" that the accuser is a liar. This incredibly irresponsible attitude is exactly what deters victims from reporting abuse. #MeToo— (@cafwee) #
@caseimz333 @jk_rowling He's an abuser. And what's his punishment? Being part of a big movie, in a big caracter, because they keep protecting him. That's why the fans don't want him as Grindewald, we don't want abusers being protected anymore.— (@izascaramuza) #
This is about so much more than one movie.
Some Referenced Her Work
there will be a time when we must choose between what is easy and what is right" - dumbledore, GoF jk rowling needs to go back and read her own views cause she's obviously forgotten...or she didn't believe in it in the first place— (@dracomallfoys) #
dear @jk_rowling, I'm glad you have created a new Patronus, the hipopocrita.— (@oivoldemort) #
Added another Twitter user: "jk rowling legacy [sic] is literally about a boy who has been emotionally and physically abused and the danger in looking the other way bc the truth is inconvenient."
Or Outright Reclaimed It For Their Own
jk rowling is canceled, harry potter belongs to the fans now and it's not hers anymore— (@ria_tee) #
This is a full-on revolution.
And Many Unsubscribed From The Fandom
jk rowling has worked so systematically and methodically to destroy my love of her creation. it's fascinating.— (@kendrajames_) #
Me about JK Rowling— (@chriisevans) #
For some, this was the final straw.
But Mostly, Fans Were Just Flat-Out Disappointed
@jk_rowling Absolutely unacceptable. You cannot claim to support women & keep an alleged domestic abuser in such a prominent role in one of the biggest franchises in Hollywood. To give him a continued voice only perpetuates & normalizes the problem within the industry. I'm so disappointed.— (@katwquinn) #
This is an intensely disappointing word salad from JK Rowling re Johnny Depp. It manages to say nothing & yet give Depp a pass in the most evasive, passive way possible. Ugh. https://t.co/bZ5Sy9NfqH— (@moryan) #
Rowling is generally quite beloved, so this came as a major blow.
And At Least One Person Damned The Entire Year
I can't believe JK Rowling is cancelled. 2017 is really a garbage year.— (@martyschmarty) #
Is it 2018, yet?
Of course, there were some people in Rowling's court. "To all the ignorant people that keep [attacking] Jk Rowling after her statement ... GET OVER IT! [IT'S] OBVIOUS SHE KNOWS MORE THAN YOU THINK ABOUT THE CASE," tweeted one user. And another wrote: "JK Rowling clearly implies in her statement that she has inside info about allegations against Johnny but you still are too proud to admit that you are in the wrong side."
But by and large, the message is clear: Rowling has landed on the bad side of her fandom, and from the sounds of it, the Harry Potter franchise might not be strong enough to withstand it.