Johnny Depp was married to Amber Heard for just one year. Over the course of that year, Heard and those close to her describe a pattern of abusive behavior from Depp, starting with kicks, shoves and punches before moving up to full-on assault. The Guardian quotes Io Tillett Wright, a friend of Heard’s: “She woke up with her pillow covered in blood. I know this because I went to their house. I saw the pillow with my own eyes. I saw the busted lip and the clumps of hair on the floor.”
Director David Yates, known almost exclusively for his work on the Harry Potter franchise, doesn’t think this is reason enough to remove Depp from their forthcoming film, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. (Depp plays the titular dark wizard, Gellert Grindelwald). EW quotes Yates as he points to Depp’s “kind” behavior on set and his history of romantic attachments who all say he never abused them. This, Yates thinks, is enough to allow Depp to continue to work, to absolve him of any alleged domestic abuse and to let him play a key part in one of the biggest film franchises in the world.
Here’s Yates’ full quote, per EW:
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. 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.
By testament, some of the women in [Depp’s] life have said the same thing—”that’s not the human being we know.” 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.
A dead issue.
To paraphrase, Yates is saying that he doesn’t mind working with a man who settled out of court with his former wife in order to stop her from bringing domestic abuse charges against him. Yates thinks that because Depp has always been nice to him, and to other people, he must really be a nice person. He was nice to me, so I can ignore that his wife said he gave her a black eye.
There are two ways to react when your friend is accused of sexual misconduct: You can side with the perpetrator or the victim. Yates, much like J.K. Rowling (who expressed delight when Depp was cast and has been silent on the allegations against him—though not speaking out is a far cry from calling Heard’s accusations into question), seems to have chosen the former.
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald opens on Nov. 16, 2018.