Pirates of the Caribbean and Fantastic Beasts actor Johnny Depp has revealed Warner Bros. has asked him to resign from his role as Grindelwald and that he has agreed to the request.
Depp posted a letter to his fans to his Instagram account announcing his resignation.
The letter begins, “In light of recent events, 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.”
Depp continued, “I have been humbled and moved by your many messages of love and concern, particularly over the last few days.”
He then revealed Warner Bros. asked him to resign and that he has complied. Depp wrote, “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.”
Depp then stated, “Finally, I wish to say this. The surreal judgement of the court in the U.K. 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,” Depp concluded.
Depp previously received support from Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling despite numerous calls for Depp to be fired after Heard insinuated he domestically abused her.
Rowling wrote on her official website, “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.”
She added, “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.”
As Depp notes, his statement comes after Justice Andrew Nichol ruled in favor of The Sun and their parent company News Group Newspapers Ltd. after Johnny Depp filed a libel lawsuit against the company and its Executive Editor Dan Wootton.
Depp filed the lawsuit in response to an article published by The Sun in April 2018 whose headline read, “‘GONE POTTY How Can J K Rowling be “genuinely happy” casting wife beater
Johnny Depp in the new Fantastic Beasts film?”
In a 129-page decision, Justice Nichol “found that the great majority of alleged assaults of Ms Heard by Mr Depp have been proved to the civil standard (bearing in mind what has been said about the evidence necessary to satisfy that standard when serious allegations are in issue).”
However, when Nichol actually revealed his opinions on the alleged assaults he indicated his belief was based primarily on Amber Heard’s testimony.
In response to an alleged attack by Depp against Heard over one of Depp’s tattoos, Nichol wrote, “Seen in isolation, the evidence that Mr Depp assaulted Ms Heard on this occasion might not be sufficient. However, taken with the evidence as a whole, I find that it did occur.”
In response to another alleged attack, Nichol wrote, “It follows that the expert evidence will play no part in this trial. The material which I have seen for the purpose of considering this application will be disregarded.”
Then in response to another alleged attack he wrote, “I have listed those who saw Ms Heard in the days following the incident and who said that her face had no sign of injury. On the other hand, there is evidence which I find compelling of witnesses who saw Ms Heard with injuries to her face and who took photographs of these. I prefer the evidence of the latter.”
In fact, while explaining his reasons for finding Heard’s evidence compelling he writes about photographs that were submitted as evidence, “They clearly show (at least) some reddening to her cheek, as Mr Depp in the course of his cross-examination admitted. There are also the photographs of spilled wine which were taken.”
He would go on to state, “While I accept that the view I have reached are in conflict with the evidence of Officer Saenz and Officer Hadden, I maintain them nonetheless. It is notable that the officers took no contemporaneous notes. While it is not for me to criticise the methods of another police force, the absence of contemporaneous notes means that their evidence does not carry the same weight as it would otherwise.”
In conclusion, Nichol would rule, “[Johnny Depp] has not succeeded in his action for libel. Although he has proved the necessary elements of his cause of action in libel, the Defendants have shown that what they published in the meaning which I have held the words to bear was substantially true.”
The Justice continued, “I have reached these conclusions having examined in detail the 14 incidents on which the Defendants rely as well as the overarching considerations which [Johnny Depp] submitted I should take into account.”
“In those circumstances, Parliament has said that a defendant has a complete defense. It has not been necessary to consider the fairness of the article or the defendants’ ‘malice’ because those are immaterial to the statutory defence of truth,” he concluded.
Depp’s lawyer Jenny Afia responded to the Justice’s ruling saying, “This decision is as perverse as it is bewildering.”
She added, “Most troubling is the judge’s reliance on the testimony of Amber Heard, and corresponding disregard of the mountain of counter-evidence from police officers, medical practitioners, her own former assistant, other unchallenged witnesses and an array of documentary evidence which completely undermined the allegations, point by point.”
What do you make of Warner Bros. asking Depp to resign from the Fantastic Beasts franchise? Do you think Depp should have resigned?