Director David Yates supports Johnny Depp’s inclusion in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, despite major fan backlash.

Yates, the longtime Harry Potter franchise director who tackled Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them back in 2016 , has defended the decision to keep Depp on the roster for the Fantastic Beasts sequel due out next year.

When Warner Bros. confirmed that the Pirates of the Caribbean star would reprise his role as Gellert Grindelwald, the the nefarious wizard who appeared in a flashbulb moment in the first Fantastic Beasts film, people were rightfully outraged, given that Depp’s ex-wife Amber Heard accused him of domestic violence two years ago. Speaking with Entertainment Weekly, Yates stated that “whatever accusation was out there doesn’t tally with the kind of human being [he’s] been working with,” and stuck by the choice to have Depp star in the upcoming sequel.

“Honestly, there’s an issue at the moment where there’s a lot of people being accused of things, they’re being accused by multiple victims, and it’s compelling and frightening,” said Yates. “With Johnny, it seems to me there was one person who took a pop at him and claimed something. I can only tell you about the man I see every day: He’s full of decency and kindness, and that’s all I see.”

Yates also named several of Depp’s former partners who have publicly defended him, including Vanessa Paradis, the mother of his daughter Lily-Rose Depp; Vanessa Paradis; Lori Anne Allison; and Winona Ryder, who once stated that Depp was “never abusive at all” and was only a “really good, loving, caring guy” during the course of their relationship from 1989 to 1993.

Yates argued that “some of the women in [Depp’s] life have said the same thing–‘that’s not the human being we know,” and that Depp “isn’t in [the]category” of other alleged abusers/harassers such as Harvey Weinstein, whose decades-long history of sexual misconduct was brought to light earlier this year. “To me, it doesn’t bear any more analysis. It’s a dead issue,” Yates said.

Harry Potter author and Fantastic Beasts screenwriter J.K. Rowling has not commented on Depp’s return for the sequel, nor has she addressed the domestic violence allegations.

Jude Law and Eddie Redmayne topline Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald as a young Albus Dumbledore and the quirky magizoologist Newt Scamander. Mark your calendars for a November 16, 2018 release date.

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AJ Caulfield

She’s a 23-year-old writer, massive goofball, and quite possibly Jim Halpert’s long-lost sister. She’s half behind-the-scenes, half in the light, as she oversees the writing teams and edits all of Geek Bomb’s written content, and does a bit of writing of her own.

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