A new report indicates Warner Bros. executives are “freaking out” over the current lawsuit between Fantastic Beasts actor Johnny Depp and Aquaman actress Amber Heard following court documents alleging abuse committed by Johnny Depp.
The report from Page Six indicates Warner Bros. is “freaking out” over the lawsuit and how it could affect their Harry Potter franchise. Depp has portrayed Gellert Grindelwald in two films including Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
Page Six’s source reports, “Executives at Warner Bros. are wondering how to deal with the backlash of the Depp matter on the Harry Potter franchise.” They add, “High-level female execs at the studio are extremely worried about working with Depp and the message it sends to the public, especially after the recent sordid departure of CEO Kevin Tsujihara.”
Former Warner Bros. CEO Kevin Tsujihara resigned his position following an internal investigation based on a report that he might have been using his position to aid British actress Charlotte Kirk in her career. Tsujihara had previously been romantically involved with Kirk.
Warner Bros. and their Harry Potter franchise were heavily criticized for standing behind Johnny Depp as they promoted Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. A number of people on Twitter called for Depp to be fired with one describing him as an “abusive s***.” Others at the time indicated they were going to boycott the film. Nevertheless, Warner Bros. stood behind Depp and released a statement, “This matter has been jointly addressed by both parties, in a statement in which they said, ‘there was never any intent of physical or emotional harm.’
But public perception isn’t the only thing “freaking out” Warner Bros. executives. The source continues, “This is yet another blow to the morale of female employees at the studio. If Warner Bros. continues to stick by Depp, it would reveal a lot about the values the company holds.”
They are also concerned about J.K. Rowling’s strong stance in favor of Johnny Depp back in December where she addressed the casting controversy. The source notes, “Many at Warner Bros. wish that Rowling hadn’t come out so strongly behind Depp, because having made her opinion so public boxes them into a corner.”
Harry Potter scribe J.K. Rowling would also stand behind Depp with her own statement:
“When Johnny Depp was cast as Grindelwald, I thought he’d be wonderful in the role. However, around the time of filming his cameo in the first movie, stories had appeared in the press that deeply concerned me and everyone most closely involved in the franchise.
Harry Potter fans had legitimate questions and concerns about our choice to continue with Johnny Depp in the role. As David Yates, long-time Potter director, has already said, we naturally considered the possibility of recasting. I understand why some have been confused and angry about why that didn’t happen.”
She would add:
“The huge, mutually supportive community that has grown up around Harry Potter is one of the greatest joys of my life. For me personally, the inability to speak openly to fans about this issue has been difficult, frustrating and at times painful. However, the agreements that have been put in place to protect the privacy of two people, both of whom have expressed a desire to get on with their lives, must be respected. Based on our understanding of the circumstances, the filmmakers and I are not only comfortable sticking with our original casting, but genuinely happy to have Johnny playing a major character in the movies.”
“I’ve loved writing the first two screenplays and I can’t wait for fans to see ‘The Crimes of Grindelwald’. I accept that there will be those who are not satisfied with our choice of actor in the title role. However, conscience isn’t governable by committee. Within the fictional world and outside it, we all have to do what we believe to be the right thing.”
While recent court documents accuse Depp of abuse, the actor sued Amber Heard in March for $50 million in a defamation lawsuit. In the lawsuit he accused Heard of abuse and claimed that she chopped off his finger.
In part of the lawsuit, Johnny Depp claims that Heard was not only lying about the abuse she claimed happened but also attempted to fake the abuse in order to stigmatize the actor. The lawsuit even claims Heard used her friends to file false testimonies:
“Ms. Heard falsely began yelling ‘stop hitting me Johnny.’ The interaction culminated with Ms. Heard making false allegations that Mr. Depp struck her with a cell phone, hit her, and destroyed the penthouse. There were multiple eyewitnesses to this hoax.
Ms. Heard’s friend then called the police, who arrived promptly. Upon their arrival, Ms. Heard refused to cooperate with police or make any claims that she had been injured or assaulted, and two domestic abuse trained police officers testified that after close inspection of Ms. Heard and the penthouses, they observed no injury to Ms. Heard or damage to the penthouses. But then, six days later, Ms. Heard presented herself to the world with a battered face as she publicly and falsely accused Mr. Depp of domestic violence and obtained a restraining order against him, based on false testimony that she and her friends provided.”
Countering both his suit and claims, Amber Heard requested that the judge dismiss Depp’s defamation lawsuit, while also detailing the abuse she claims to have faced. She detailed drug abuse as well as extensive use of alcohol that she claims lead to Depp physically abusing her.
Depp’s lawyer Adam Waldman responded to Heard’s accusations in a statement to Page Six describing them as a “hoax.”
“Ms. Heard has a new problem besides defamation, perjury and filing and receiving a fraudulent temporary restraining order demand with the court: We are now interviewing other women who have come forward claiming they are victims of horrific acts of violence and other abuse at the hands of Amber Heard, in addition to Johnny Depp and Tasya van Rhee, the latter of whom Ms. Heard was previously arrested and incarcerated for assaulting.
We have now issued subpoenas to Amber Heard, her hoax assisting friends, Elon Musk and other witnesses to explain the avalanche of video, audio, photographic and testimonial evidence with which we intend to confront them.”
Following Depp’s original lawsuit a petition was created calling for Amber Heard to be removed from Aquaman 2. Heard plays Mera in the Aquaman franchise.
What do you make of these reports that Warner Bros. is worried about Depp? Do you think they should be worried about Heard as well?