Back in the early 2000s, Johnny Depp's transition from oddball indie darling to blockbuster franchise star was the talk of Hollywood.
Not only had Depp made the leap from the arthouse to the A-list, he did so following a late-nineties slump that saw him headlining such forgettable fare as Don Juan DeMarco and The Nick of Time.
Yes, it wasn't all that long ago that it seemed Johnny Depp could do know wrong--but now those days seem like a distant memory.
Currently, Depp's legal battles make more headlines than his acting triumphs, and many once-faithful fans have fled like rats from a sinking pirate ship.
Most recently, Depp's lawsuit against his management team, shed light on several less-than-flattering aspects of the 54-year-old's personal life.
The tabloids focused on more amusing aspects of the court documents, such as Depp's $30,000-a-month wine habit and chronic inability to show up to set on time (which the defendants insist has made him nigh-unemployable).
But the filings also addressed an even darker chapter from Depp's recent past--shocking allegations of abuse made by the actor's ex-wife, Amber Heard.
Heard says Depp struck her on multiple occasions, and she offered photographic proof in court, including photos of a black eye and several bruises she says she received at his hands.
She also submitted into evidence footage that she secretly filmed during a drunken tirade by her then-husband (below).
Normally, accusations such as these would be enough to derail even the most beloved movie star's career.
But for whatever reason, Depp has emerged unscathed, assuming the central role in yet another franchise targeted at children with the upcoming Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, part of the ongoing Harry Potter saga.
Fans have expressed outrage over Depp's continued involvement in the series of films (He briefly appeared in 2016's Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.) but Warner Bros. currently has no plans to replace him.
Shockingly, director David Yates has now come out with what many consider an indefensible statement in support of Depp:
“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,” Yates said in an interview with Entertainment Weekly.
“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. Whatever accusation was out there doesn’t tally with the kind of human being I’ve been working with.”
“By testament, some of the women in [Depp’s] life have said the same thing — ‘that’s not the human being we know.'
“It’s very different [than cases] where there are multiple accusers over many years that need to be examined and we need to reflect on our industry that allows that to roll on year in and year out.
The director concluded:
"Johnny isn’t in that category in any shape or form. So to me, it doesn’t bear any more analysis. It’s a dead issue.”
Obviously, Yates is using languages that's common to those who defend abusers, reasoning that since he's never seen Depp's violent side, it must not exist.
Others involved in the franchise have chosen to remain mum on the issue of Depp, including J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter novels.
Twitter users have even reported being blocked by Rowling after asking about Depp.
Interestingly, Rowling purchased Depp's yacht earlier this year for several million dollars, and the two are said to have hit it off.
We'll have further updates on this developing story as more information becomes available.