Johnny Depp booted from JK Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts after losing ‘wife beater’ libel case

Johnny Depp

Johnny Depp confirmed Friday (6 November) that in the fallout of his legal challenge against a British newspaper that called him a “wife beater”, he has resigned from his role in the Fantastic Beasts cinematic series.

In a letter uploaded to Instagram, the actor said he will no longer portray the dark white-haired wizard Gellert Grindelwald.

“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.

It comes just days after Depp lost a libel case against News Group Newspapers, publisher of The Sun, which claimed there was “overwhelming evidence” that he had assaulted bisexual actor Amber Heard repeatedly during their marriage.

Depp had sued the media giant over a 2018 article written by the tabloid’s executive editor Dan Wootton.

The litany of assaults included head-butting Heard, hitting her and tearing clumps of her hair, wrote judge Andrew Nicol in the online ruling issued Monday (2 November), describing them as “terrifying”.


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Depp confirmed in the statement he plans to appeal.

According to Variety, Warner Bros confirmed that the studio has dropped Depp and his role in the JK Rowling franchise will be recast before the third film in 2022.

“Johnny Depp will depart the Fantastic Beasts franchise,” Warner Bros said in a statement.

“We thank Johnny for his work on the films to date,.

Fantastic Beasts 3 is currently in production, and the role of Gellert Grindelwald will be recast. The film will debut in theatres worldwide in the summer of 2022.”

Depp said in his letter: “I’d like to thank everybody who has gifted me with their support and loyalty.

“I have been humbled and moved by your many messages of love and concern, particularly over the last few days.”

He continued, “Finally, I wish to say this. The surreal judgement of the court in the UK 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.”