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Accused domestic abuser to star in ‘Fantastic Beasts’ sequel

Getty Images for BFI

Yesterday, news broke that the second film in the long-awaited Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them series has found its star: an alleged spousal abuser. The spinoff of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series—beloved around the world by children of all ages—has cast the man whose ex-wife accused him of attacking her on multiple occasions opposite Eddie Redmayne. Johnny Depp, 53, is also known as an actor.

Amber Heard, an actress with upcoming roles in Justice League and Aquaman, married Depp in February 2015. On May 21, 2016, a 911 call dispatched LAPD officers to Heard and Depp’s home to investigate an apparent domestic incident. She chose not to file a criminal report, but later claimed that Depp had thrown his cell phone at her face and hit her repeatedly. The couple separated the next day and Heard officially filed for divorce the following day.

That Friday, May 27, Heard was granted a temporary restraining order against Depp. “During the entirety of our relationship, Johnny has been verbally and physically abusive to me,” Heard stated in a court petition. “I endured excessive emotional, verbal and physical abuse from Johnny, which has included angry, hostile, humiliating and threatening assaults to me whenever I questioned his authority or disagreed with him.” In the same document, she alleged that Depp abused drugs and alcohol.

Among those who came to Depp’s defense in the media were his former partner Vanessa Paradis, their daughter Lily-Rose Depp, and his first wife Lori Anne Allison. Depp’s reps released this statement about their split on May 26:

Given the brevity of this marriage and the most recent and tragic loss of his mother, Johnny will not respond to any of the salacious false stories, gossip, misinformation and lies about his personal life. Hopefully the dissolution of this short marriage will be resolved quickly.

In June, People printed photos of Heard with bruises and facial injuries that were allegedly caused by Depp. A video published by TMZ on August 12, taped by Heard, depicted an apparently inebriated Depp shouting at her and seemingly smashing glass in their kitchen.

Four days later, their divorce was settled and Heard’s domestic violence restraining order petition against Depp was dismissed. Heard donated her $7 million settlement to charity.

The alleged spousal abuser also plays in a band, the Hollywood Vampires. Harry Potter author Rowling, an outspoken feminist, has yet to publicly acknowledge his casting.