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Johnny Depp Steps Down from Fantastic Beasts After Losing ‘Wife-Beater’ Case

Actor Johnny Depp announced late on Friday night that he has stepped down from the role of Grindelwald in the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (a spin-off Harry Potter) film franchise.


The move comes in the wake of Depp losing a libel case against UK tabloid The Sun which tagged him as ‘wife-beater’ in a 2018 article. Since then, social media has been trending  #Justicefor JohnnyDepp, in support of the actor. 

On Friday, Depp released a statement, announcing his exit from the film, after Warner Bros had asked him to resign. He also added that he will soon file an appeal to challenge the court’s judgement. His statement also said:

“In the light of recent event’s, I would like to make the following short statement. Firstly, I’d like to thank everybody who has gifted me with their support and loyalty. I have been humbled and moved by your many messages of love and concern, particularly over the last few days. Secondly, 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. Finally, I wish to say this. The surreal judgement of the court in the UK 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. Thank you for reading.”


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The Pirates of the Caribbean star’s association with Warner Bros was shrouded ever since the initial announcement that Depp will be playing the role of Grindelwald in the five-part franchise that came in nearly five months after the actor was publicly accused of domestic violence.


On Monday, judge Justice Andrew Nicol passed the verdict that the allegations made by Depp’s wife Amber Heard were ‘substantially true’. According to a report by Deadline, “The 129-page court document concludes plainly that Mr Depp did assault Ms Heard in reference to the multiple allegations of domestic violence that were presented during the trial, declaring that the “great majority” had been proved. The verdict also notes that it does not accept the characterization of Heard as a gold-digger.”

After the hearing, the UK court ruled out Depp’s libel case against The Sun, saying that the publisher was justified in using the term ‘wife-beater’ in its 2018 article.

This is not the first time the Harry Potter franchise is stirring controversies. In June, Warner Bros was called out for sticking by the side of the author JK Rowling when she faced backlash by fans across the world for promoting transphobia.

Recently, the production of the third installment from the Fantastic Beasts series resumed and is set to release in 2022.