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Johnny Depp Asked To Step Down From 'Fantastic Beasts' Franchise After 'Wife-Beater' Verdict

Johnny Depp Axed 'Fantastic Beasts Franchise After Wife Beater Verdict
Source: MEGA

Nov. 6 2020, Updated 3:58 p.m. ET

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After losing his libel case against British tabloid The Sun, over allegations of being called a "wife-beater," Johnny Depp has been asked to step down from the Warner Brother's Fantastic Beasts franchise, and the actor has agreed.

"Johnny Depp will depart the Fantastic Beasts franchise," the studio said in a statement on Friday, November 6. "We thank Johnny for his work on the films to date. Fantastic Beasts 3 is currently in production, and the role of Gellert Grindelwald will be recast. The film will debut in theaters worldwide in the summer of 2022."

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Depp, 57, first shared the news via Instagram on Friday morning. "In light of recent events, I would like to make the following short statement," the post read. "Firstly, I'd like to thank everybody who has gifted me with their support and loyalty. I have been humbled and moved by your many messages of love and concern, particularly over the last few days.

"Secondly, I wish to let you know that I have been asked to resign by Warner Bros. from my role as Grindelwald in Fantastic Beasts and I have respected and agreed to that request," he continued. "Finally, I wish to say this.

"The surreal judgment of the court in the U.K. will not change my fight to tell the truth and I confirm that I plan to appeal. My resolve remains strong and I intend that the allegations against me are false," he noted before concluding his statement. "My life and career will not be defined by this moment in time."

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Fans took to the comment section to share their love with the star. "We all know you're innocent Johnny❤️," one fan wrote. "I’m so sorry to hear this ? you’re still a beloved actor and are loved by millions ❤️," another wrote, while a third fan added: "AMBER HEARD IS LYING ???," which garnered over 4,000 likes.

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The English actor's departure from the franchise comes after his lengthy court battle with ex-wife Amber Heard. Depp lost the 16-day "wife beater" libel case — which took place at the Royal Courts of Justice in London, England — against British tabloid The Sun. The final ruling was announced on Monday, November 2.

The Pirates of the Caribbean actor sued the publication after they printed an article claiming he beat his ex-wife. The outlet used the 2018 article Heard wrote for The Washington Post, "I spoke up against sexual violence — and faced our culture's wrath. That has to change," in the defamation case.

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Throughout the scandalous lawsuit, both parties claimed their ex was the violent one in the relationship. Heard, 34, claimed Depp threw bottles at her head, dragged her through broken glass and threatened to kill her on multiple occasions. The Sweeney Todd actor called his ex-wife's allegations a "hoax," also claiming she defecated in his bed, punched him and had affairs with high-profile people like Elon Musk and James Franco.

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Depp is also gearing up for a $50 million defamation lawsuit against his ex-wife for alleging she fabricated abuse claims. The actress is countersuing Depp for $100M, accusing him of creating a "smear campaign" to ruin her life.

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The former couple met on the set of The Rum Diary in 2009 and were later married in L.A. in 2015. About a year later, the Aquaman actress filed for divorce from Depp while accusing him of domestic abuse. She also obtained a $7 million settlement, which she then donated to charity, according to PEOPLE.

Depp's Hollywood career may not be over just yet. Pal Robert Downey Jr. is looking out for Depp amid his troubling time. "There's nobody I admire more. We've known each other a million years. We came up through the ranks together," Downey Jr. said of his friendship with the star. The Ironman actor has been pushing for a Sherlock 3 film to help out his longtime pal. While the cast has yet to be secured, Depp's chances seem to be looking good.

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