I’m not seeing the new Harry Potter movie even though I so desperately want to. And yes, I’m calling it the “New Harry Potter movie” because THAT IS WHAT IT IS, DAMMIT. I hate when people argue with those of us who call them Harry Potter movies when he’s not even in them. IT IS STILL INFORMATION ABOUT HIS AMAZING WORLD. LEAVE ME ALONE.
Anyway, I won’t be seeing it. I heard the news of of Johnny Depp’s alleged abuse towards his wife about the time the first Newt Scamander movie was coming out and I knew that we’d get the big reveal at the end that Johnny Depp was Gellert Grindelwald. So, I was already feeling a little conflicted at just seeing his face in the last few seconds of the movie. I really assumed they’d replace him, to be honest. The allegations weren’t public when they cast him, surely they could recast for the next movie.
They let him keep the role and filmed the second movie with him in the lead anyway.
I knew all along I wouldn’t be watching it, but it has surprised a lot of people. First off, a lot of them didn’t know about his domestic abuse allegations because his wife ended up settling out of court and dropping the charges. WHICH IS WHAT A LOT OF ABUSE VICTIMS DO. And a lot of people think she was faking but you know what? I do not. And you know what else? I am not on the jury of his peers to sentence him to prison for beating his wife. I am simply a person in the public trying to decide whether or not to do anything that would show I value his art more than her claims of abuse.
It is not difficult to dismiss the work of predators and angry men because agonizing over a predator’s legacy would mean there is some price I am willing to let victims pay for the sake of good art, when the truth is no half hour of television is so excellent that anyone’s suffering is recompense. Instead, I remember how many women’s careers were ruined; I think of those who gave up their dreams because some “genius” decided indulging his thirst for power and control mattered more than her ambition and dignity. I remember all the silence, decades and decades of enforced silence, intimidation, and manipulation, that enabled bad men to flourish. When I do that, it’s quite easy for me to think nothing of the supposedly great art of bad men.
I think I was also just mad at JK Rowling for not using what power she had to insist on recasting. She has been such a champion of women’s issues and so I just assumed there was a contractual limitation to her power so she would never address it and probably just do the bare minimum of promoting it and it would probably bother her forever. But then Warner Brother’s statement was: This matter has been jointly addressed by both parties, in a statement in which they said, ‘there was never any intent of physical or emotional harm,” to which Amber Heard responded with the FULL statement which seems was written by someone who KNEW that one line would be extracted and used as exculpatory evidence that Johnny Depp was innocent.
For the record, this was our FULL joint statement.To pick&choose certain lines & quote them out of context, is not right.Women, stay strong. pic.twitter.com/W7Tt6A3ROj
— Amber Heard (@realamberheard) December 8, 2017
And then JK Rowling towed the same line that Warner Bros and even expressed joy in Depp’s playing of the role.
So I could no longer just assume she was contractually bound to not comment. So now I’m dealing with a little bit of broken heartedness towards her, as well. Which I’ll need to unpack a little before her next book comes out because I truly adore the Cormoran Strike novels.
Yes, maybe Amber Heard is lying. But the most important message I send to the world, especially the world I’m sending my children into is: I BELIEVE YOU. Because that’s how we eradicate rape culture. And if I say to my kids who know about Johnny Depp’s alleged abuses, “Well, we’re not sure he really did it so we’re going to see the movie anyway,” then what does that tell them if they ever want to turn to me with a story of assault? In our family we don’t support abusers if we know about the abuse beforehand. My kids know that, so somehow taking the side of the alleged abuser over the victim in this one case just so I can see my beloved Harry Potter movies? Sends the exact wrong message to them and to the rest of the world.
All of that is to say, not everyone follows pop culture news like I do, and not everyone knows the stories. But I kept up with them in this case because I knew about his casting in this movie and I was SO HOPING they’d recast before filming. I know that people still do not believe her. So, I will not judge others who see his movies.
But my kids would know if we saw it that I decided to doubt the victim’s claims in exchange for 90 minutes of entertainment. And I can’t stomach that.