Fantastic Beasts Director David Yates Defends Keeping Johnny Depp Despite Amber Heard’s Abuse Accusations

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Photo: John Phillips/Getty Images

Johnny Depp appears at the end of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them as the villainous Grindelwald, and will have a larger role in the sequel, an unsettling prospect for many considering the domestic abuse allegations leveled against him by his ex-wife Amber Heard. The two reached a settlement after her suit, and issued a statement that read “our relationship was intensely passionate and at times volatile, but always bound by love. Neither party has made false accusations for financial gains.” Despite a Hollywood climate that has recently cracked down on abusive men in power such as Harvey Weinstein, director David Yates told Entertainment Weekly that he has no concerns about working with Depp. “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.”

Yates also noted that Depp’s exes, including Winona Ryder, have spoken positively of him. “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. So to me, it doesn’t bear any more analysis. It’s a dead issue.”

Fantastic Beasts Director Defends Johnny Depp