Harry Potter author JK Rowling has hit back at critics over her decision to keep Johnny Depp in the role of Grindelwald for the Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them sequel.
Some fans have vented their fury about Depp starring in the film after his ex-wife Amber Heard accused him of domestic violence.
Rowling, who pens the spin-off film series, said stories surrounding Depp “deeply concerned” her when they emerged at the time when he was filming the first movie.
She said she and director David Yates had considered recasting for the role for Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.
But in a statement the author said while she understood some fans will not be pleased, she is “genuinely happy” for Depp to play the leading character.
“When Johnny Depp was cast as Grindelwald, I thought he’d be wonderful in the role,” she said.
“However, around the time of filming his cameo in the first movie, stories had appeared in the press that deeply concerned me and everyone most closely involved in the franchise.
“Harry Potter fans had legitimate questions and concerns about our choice to continue with Johnny Depp in the role. As David Yates, long-time Potter director, has already said, we naturally considered the possibility of recasting.”
She said it had been “difficult, frustrating and at times painful” that she was not able to speak to fans about the issues but added: “The agreements that have been put in place to protect the privacy of two people, both of whom have expressed a desire to get on with their lives, must be respected.
“Based on our understanding of the circumstances, the filmmakers and I are not only comfortable sticking with our original casting, but genuinely happy to have Johnny playing a major character in the movies.
“I’ve loved writing the first two screenplays and I can’t wait for fans to see The Crimes Of Grindelwald.
“I accept that there will be those who are not satisfied with our choice of actor in the title role. However, conscience isn’t governable by committee.”
Rowling concluded: “Within the fictional world and outside it, we all have to do what we believe to be the right thing.”
Depp and Heard split in April 2016 after 15 months of marriage, amid claims of domestic abuse by Depp.