Warner Brothers executives working on the next Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them installment are reportedly “freaking out” about Amber Heard’s latest accusations against Johnny Depp, according to The New York Post.
As reported by The Inquisitr, Amber Heard, the ex-wife of Depp, has recently hit back at Depp’s defamation lawsuit by releasing stories, texts, and photos in an effort to clear her name. The new documents are often disturbing in nature; for example, one picture shows a ransacked dressing room that Depp allegedly destroyed while in a drunken rage.
Depp currently stars as arch-villain Grindelwald in the Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them series. A source told Page Six about the turmoil the studio is facing.
“Executives at Warner Bros. are wondering how to deal with the backlash of the Depp matter on the Harry Potter franchise… especially after the recent sordid departure of CEO Kevin Tsujihara.”
Kevin Tsuijihara was the CEO of Warner Brothers since 2013. This past March, he resigned from his position following a #MeToo accusation in which a British actress claimed he had promised her movie parts in exchange for sexual favors.
However, the source placed the most blame at the feet of Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling.
“Many at Warner Bros. wish that Rowling hadn’t come out so strongly behind Depp, because having made her opinion so public boxes them into a corner.”
In a 2017 blog post on her personal website jkrowling.com, the famous writer addressed the casting of Depp after the first round of domestic abuse allegations appeared.
“Harry Potter fans had legitimate questions and concerns about our choice to continue with Johnny Depp in the role… we naturally considered the possibility of recasting. I understand why some have been confused and angry about why that didn’t happen.”
However, Rowling justified the decision by claiming first that both Heard and Depp wanted to move on and second that she took Depp’s side after her “understanding of the circumstances.” She then went on to proclaim that she was “comfortable” and “genuinely happy” to keep Depp as Grindelwald, infuriating many members of her fan base.
The panic has been rumored to be the cause of delayed filming; the third installment, which was supposed to begin shooting in the summer, has delayed its filming until fall.
Moreover, Johnny Depp backlash might have been behind Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald‘s lackluster box office numbers. Though the film made over $650,000,000 worldwide, the film was considered by many to be a domestic “flop,” earning $160,000,000 stateside, per Screen Rant.