Daniel Radcliffe addresses Johnny Depp’s casting in Fantastic Beasts sequel

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Jan 12, 2018, 3:54 PM EST

Throughout the casting controversy surrounding Warner Bros.’ decision to keep Johnny Depp in Harry Potter spinoff Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald,  Daniel Radcliffe had remained silent. Until now.

When asked by Entertainment Weekly about the decision to keep Depp, despite his ex-wife Amber Heard’s claims of abuse, the star of the series upon which Fantastic Beasts is based weighed in, albeit, with some difficulty.  

“It’s a very hard thing for me,” said the Harry Potter star, while also being respectful of the film’s producers, who “gave me a great start in life and an amazing job.”

However, he added:

“I can see why people are frustrated with the response that they were given from that … I’m not saying anything that anybody hasn’t already said — and this is a weird analogy to draw — [but] in the NFL, there are lots of players arrested for smoking weed and there is other people’s behavior that goes way beyond that and it’s tolerated because they’re very famous players. I suppose the thing I was struck by was, we did have a guy who was reprimanded for weed on the [original Potter] film, essentially, so obviously what Johnny has been accused of is much greater than that.”

Radcliffe is referring to Jamie Waylett, aka Slytherin bully Vincent Crabbe, who was arrested and pleaded guilty to growing 10 plants of marijuana in his mother’s home, and booted from the final two Potter films, Harry Potter Deathly Hallows Part 1 and Part 2. (He was also arrested during the 2011 London riots when he was found with a homemade bomb.)

While Depp has been accused of emotionally and physically abusing Heard, he wasn’t arrested for doing so. Heard and Depp divorced in 2016, and released the following joint statement:  

“Our relationship was intensely passionate and at times volatile, but always bound by love. Neither party has made false accusations for financial gain. There was never any intent of physical or emotional harm. Amber wishes the best for Johnny in the future. Amber will be donating financial proceeds from the divorce to a charity.”

Still, many fans were vocally upset about Depp retaining the titular role of Gillert Grindelwald in the sequel to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Both Warner Bros. and creator J.K. Rowling later issued statements in defense of the decision.

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, which also stars Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Dan Fogler, and Jude Law, opens wide Nov. 16.

(via Entertainment Weekly)