Stark allegations are flying all over the headlines, and big names are being tarnished left and right. Careers are being destroyed. In Hollywood, roles are being recast, and shows are being canceled based only on allegations. But at least one movie director is sticking by his star.
David Yates, director of the upcoming Fantastic Beasts sequel, says he fully supports Johnny Depp, and that he has no plans to remove him from the title role of The Crimes of Grindelwald.
Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, Yates said he thinks Depp deserves to keep his lead role in the film, which is currently under production. “Honestly, there’s an issue at the moment where there’s a lot of people being accused of things, (but) 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.”
Yates added that the allegation against Depp, made by his ex, Amber Heard, is “very different” from other allegations being leveled at megastars like Kevin Spacey or major players like Harvey Weinstein.
“(In those cases) 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. 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.”
During a heated separation from Depp back in 2016, Heard alleged domestic abuse and filed a restraining order. Later, the couple released a 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.”
So, bygones are bygones? Not in this current environment. Just describing the situation as a “dead issue” could get Yates in hot water … though it may not stay hot for very long.
These days, it can be difficult to know what to do or say about these issues. Things that “everyone knew” decades ago are being unearthed and viewed in a different light. The consumer public is playing referee over things that the parties involved put to rest long ago. And all of that is being played out alongside new and shocking allegations of longstanding abuse and inappropriate behavior by major names in multiple industries.
The right public relations response must be based specifically on the situation, and it’s a delicate and complicated process of weighing pros, cons, timelines, and intent, playing out against the need to quickly and ably impact or control the prevailing narrative.
Ronn Torossian is the Founder and CEO of the New York based public relations firm 5WPR: one of the 20 largest PR Firms in the United States.