JK Rowling has defended her decision to recast Johnny Depp in the next Fantastic Beasts movie in light of domestic abuse allegations from his former wife, Amber Heard. Fans have criticised Depp's ongoing relationship with the franchise because of these allegations and some are threatening to boycott the new film.
Instead of containing the growing row, fans were left angry and underwhelmed by the Harry Potter author's response.
On her personal website, Rowling wrote that during Depp's cameo in the first film - which acted as a introduction to his larger role in the next films - news broke about these physical abuse rumours. She said her and another figure "naturally considered the possibility of recasting" and understood "why some have been confused and angry about why that didn't happen."
She added: "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."
On Twitter, her rationale was greeted with derision:
The Twitter-rage against Rowling boiled into accusations of hypocrisy against the British author who has previously been vocal in her support for victims of abuse and women's rights. Unflattering comparisons were drawn between her and actress Lena Dunham who had last month publicly undermined a woman's rape allegations against one of her Girls co-worker. Dunham later apologised for the remarks.
Whilst one user said, "JK Rowling joins Lena Dunham and Kate Winslet in the "I believe women except for when I don't feel like it" dustbin" another said, "The polyjuice potion wears off to reveal that JK Rowling is actually.........Lena Dunham".
A few users even compared both of their statements and picked up on similarities in their wording:
Tweeter Amy O'Connor compared Dunham's claim she had "insider knowledge" of the situation- something that formed the basis for her decision - to Rowling's wording of "our understanding of the circumstances" means her and the filmmakers are "happy" with their decision.
She added after: "Both Dunham and Rowling used their platforms to defend men who have been accused of abusing or assaulting women and implied that they knew better than the critics. Not seeing massive dissimilarities myself."
Meanwhile, amid the outcry actress Amber Heard - Depp's former wife - took to Instagram with a cryptic post of their May divorce statement.
"Our relationship was intensely passionate and at times volatile, but always bound by love. Neither party has made false accusations for financial gains. There was never intent of physical or emotional harm. Amber wishes the best for Johnny in the future," the entire statement said. "Amber will be donating financial proceeds from the divorce to charity."
Heard added, in what was perceived as a dig at Rowling: "To pick [and] choose certain lines [and] quote them out of context is not right," she wrote on Thursday. "Women, stay strong."