Johnny Depp exits ‘Fantastic Beasts’ after losing libel case for ‘wife beater’ article

Johnny Depp played the role of Grindelwald in the ‘Fantastic Beasts’ franchise, of which two films are out.
Johnny Depp
Johnny Depp
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Hollywood star Johnny Depp said that he has been asked to resign from Fantastic Beasts film series by producer Warner Bros after he lost the libel case against a tabloid that called him a wife beater. He lost the case against his former wife Amber Heard and The Sun newspaper when, after a 16-day trial, London High Court ruled that the Hollywood star was "a wife beater". Heard had claimed that Depp had hit her 14 times during their turbulent relationship, reports

The actor, who plays Grindelwald, announced the same in an Instagram post. “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,” he wrote.

He added though that the judgment in the libel case was “surreal”, and will not change his “fight to tell the truth.” Depp said he would file an appeal against the judgment. “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,” the post concluded.

Several people, including fans of the Harry Potter franchise of which Fantastic Beasts is a spin off had objected to Johnny Depp being cast as Grindelwald, given that he had been accused of domestic violence. Author JK Rowling, who wrote the Harry Potter books and has been involved in the screenplay of the Fantastic Beasts films as well, had defended the casting.


A post shared by Johnny Depp (@johnnydepp) on

As the news of Depp being dropped from the franchise broke on Saturday, #JusticeForJohnnyDepp started trending on Twitter. Many people dragged his wife’s name into it, saying that they would not watch Aquaman, a film she has starred in, unless she was dropped from it.

Depp had sued The Sun's publisher, News Group Newspapers (NGN), and its executive editor, Dan Wootton, over an article published in the tabloid in 2018. Heard was the newspaper's chief witness.

"The claimant 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 judge said in Monday's ruling.

"I have reached these conclusions having examined in detail the 14 incidents on which the defendants rely as well as the overarching considerations which the claimant submitted I should take into account," added the judge.

After the judgement, Heard's legal team also came out with a statement.

"For those of us present for the London High Court trial, this decision and Judgment are not a surprise. Very soon, we will be presenting even more voluminous evidence in the U.S. We are committed to obtaining Justice for Amber Heard in the U.S. Court and defending Ms Heard's Right to Free Speech," they said.

Depp and Heard met on the set of The Rum Diary in 2009 and married in February 2015. Depp filed for divorce in May 2016.

Meanwhile, Depp is suing Heard for $50 million in a trial set to take place in the US next year, after she wrote about being a domestic abuse survivor in a Washington Post article. Heard is counter-suing him for an $100 million saying that the actor and his legal team have started a global smear campaign against her.

(With IANS inputs)

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