Johnny Depp reveals Warner Bros asked him to resign from ‘Fantastic Beasts’: 'My career won't be defined by this'
'The surreal judgment of the court in the UK will not change my fight to tell the truth and I confirm that I plan to appeal'
In an Instagram post on Friday, November 6, Johnny Depp has shared that he has been asked to resign from his role in ‘Fantastic Beasts’. This comes after a judge called the 57-year-old a “monster” for beating Amber Heard numerous times as he lost his libel case against The Sun publishers on Monday, November 2.
The social media post from Depp read, “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. I have been humbled and moved by your many messages of love and concern, particularly over the last few days. Secondly, I wish to let you know that I have been asked to resign by Warner Bros. from my role as Grindewald in Fantastic Beasts and I have respected and agreed to that request. Finally, I wish to say this. The surreal judgment of the court in the UK will not change my fight to tell the truth and I confirm that I plan to appeal.”
He added, “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.” Warner Bros. also confirmed that he has quit as the studio said, “Johnny Depp will depart the ‘Fantastic Beasts’ franchise. 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 theaters worldwide in the summer of 2022.”
A top celebrity crisis management expert, Mark Borkowski, claimed that coming back for the ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ actor would not be going to be easy. He said as reported by the Daily Mail, “His reputation is in tatters. Having lost this libel case he will always be known as a wife beater. Whenever he is interviewed by a journalist, he will be asked about this and if he is a wife beater. It does not get any worse for him. Hollywood is very corporate and risk adverse with its money. Those making film franchises will not want to take the risk. This is a personal disaster for him. For him to come back will be the equivalent of climbing Mt Everest without oxygen, in his underpants and barefoot. That's how hard it will be.”
Borkowski also added, “Don't write him off just yet. He is still very popular, so I would never say never that he will come back. He has a huge fan base who will still support him. There is also the #MeToo movement and Hollywood is engaged in a cultural war. He might not get involved in the big blockbusters, but there are also smaller independent films. I am sure he now regrets bringing this case but he obviously felt it was necessary.”
Other experts also seemed to agree with Borkowski as Steven Heffer, head of media and privacy at law firm Collyer Bristow, said, “Depp's strategy was high risk and has proved an absolute disaster. It is often best not to risk all for these sort of legal cases. A better approach may have been to publish a public statement denying the allegations. That would have left question marks but would have avoided the disaster scenario. Nobody can be forced to bring a libel claim, and given the stormy background of the relationship it was probably unwise to do so. Unfortunately for Depp, it is highly likely to have been a career-ending decision. What it does mean is that the future of the other legal actions is uncertain.”
As per reports, there will be another face-off between Depp and Heard in the US next year as the ‘Sleepy Hollow’ star has sued the 34-year-old for discussing domestic violence in a 2018 article for The Washington Post. Amber Melville-Brown from law firm Withers said she believes that after losing the libel case, Depp could drop the defamation suit.
“Johnny and Amber are set to meet again in the courts of Virginia, USA in May 2021 regarding a comment piece she wrote in the Washington Post — a piece that he says means that he is violent towards women. Not only will the extensive evidence in the case 'over here' be dissected by the attorneys 'over there' but this judgment may stop the US proceedings in its tracks. While the accusations may be slightly different, the legal systems are even more so, and the burden of proof on the defendant in the libel courts of England and Wales is much higher than it is in the US. Accordingly, Depp's failure to convince a British judge to that higher standard may sink the American libel ship of Hollywood's most famous pirate of the Caribbean,” she added.
But Phil Hall, who runs the PR agency PHA Group, thinks Depp should confess his wrongdoings. “There has to be a mea culpa and clean himself up, get off drink and drunks and show that he has changed. If he doesn't do that then his career could be over,” Hall said.