Fans of the Harry Potter franchise are up in arms over the decision to cast Johnny Depp in the spin-off Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. Depp was accused of domestic abuse from his then-wife Amber Heard in 2014. Daniel Radcliffe weighed in on the decision to drop Jamie Waylett, who played the bully Vincent Crabbe, from the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Parts 1 and 2, for growing cannabis, while Depp remains on the cast of the upcoming film.
“I can see why people are frustrated with the response that they were given from that . . . ” Radcliffe admitted to Entertainment Weekly. “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.”
Then-19-year-old Waylett was arrested in April 2009 after police found eight bags of cannabis in his Audi. Police then found 10 mature cannabis plants in his house. Waylett was also arrested in a separate incident for his involvement in England’s 2011 riots. Jessie Cave, who played Lavender Brown in several Harry Potter films, defended Waylett as well.
How can Waylett be dropped from the franchise for something as minor as a cannabis charge, fans asked, while Depp gets a free pass? J.K. Rowling acknowledged the fans’ concerns over the decision to keep Depp on the cast. “Harry Potter fans had legitimate questions and concerns about our choice to continue with Johnny Depp in the role,” Rowling wrote on her website. “As David Yates, long-time Potter director, has already said, we naturally considered the possibility of recasting. I understand why some have been confused and angry about why that didn’t happen.”
While J.K. Rowling has admitted that she didn’t know “Muggle” was another word for a joint. Radcliffe, on the other hand, is a regular in Amsterdam’s many cannabis café’s. It’s even earned him the moniker “Harry Pothead.”