Helena Bonham Carter Says Johnny Depp Has Been 'Completely Vindicated,' Addresses J.K. Rowling Controversy

The 56-year-old actress opened up about her former co-star's libel case and backlash against the 'Harry Potter' author.

Helena Bonham Carter is speaking out against cancel culture, citing two important figures in her life whom she feels have been treated unfairly -- Johnny Depp and J.K. Rowling

In a new profile for The Sunday Times, the 56-year-old British actress, who has co-starred alongside Depp in multiple films, noted that the Pirates of the Caribbean star "certainly went through it" in regard to his legal battle with ex-wife Amber Heard

"I think he’s completely vindicated,” Bonham Carter says of Depp. “I think he’s fine now. Totally fine.” 

When asked if the libel case between Heard and Depp was "the pendulum of #MeToo swinging back," the actress replies, "My view is that she got on that pendulum. That’s the problem with these things — that people will jump on the bandwagon because it’s the trend and to be the poster girl for it." 

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Depp filed a $50 million defamation lawsuit against Heard in March 2019 after the Washington Post published an op-ed she wrote about being the victim of domestic violence. Depp's name was not mentioned in the article, however, the story came out as their contentious 2016 divorce continued to make headlines. After weeks of back-and-forth in the courtroom, the jury ultimately sided with Depp, and the 59-year-old actor was awarded $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages. The punitive damages, however, were later reduced to $350,000 in accordance with the state's statutory cap.

While he won the defamation trial against his ex-wife in sweeping fashion, the same jury that awarded Depp that victory also found he was liable, citing comments made by his attorney, Adam Waldman, in which he referred to Heard's claims as a "hoax." That counterclaim awarded Heard $2 million in compensatory damages.

According to docs obtained by ET earlier this month, Depp's legal team has officially filed an appeal to the verdict that awarded Heard $2 million in the actor's defamation trial against her. Calling Heard's counterclaim "erroneous," Depp's team argued that the Sweeney Todd star should not be held liable for comments made by his attorney, Waldman.

Bonham Carter, who famously portrayed deranged witch Bellatrix Lestrange in the Harry Potter franchise, also spoke out in support of author Rowling, 57, who received backlash for her perceived transphobic comments in June 2020

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“It’s horrendous, a load of bollocks. I think she has been hounded," Bonham Carter says. “It’s been taken to the extreme, the judgmentalism of people. She’s allowed her opinion, particularly if she’s suffered abuse." 

Rowling penned an essay on her website amid the controversy in which she said that she had suffered domestic abuse and sexual assault and wanted women to have safe spaces. 

"Everybody carries their own history of trauma and forms their opinions from that trauma and you have to respect where people come from and their pain," Bonham Carter says. "You don’t all have to agree on everything — that would be insane and boring. She’s not meaning it aggressively, she’s just saying something out of her own experience.”

The actress thinks that the strong backlash to the author's comments comes from a place of jealousy from Rowling's critics. 

"If she hadn’t been the most phenomenal success, the reaction wouldn’t be so great," she says. "So I think there’s a lot of envy unfortunately and the need to tear people down that motors a lot of this cancelling. And schadenfreude."

Despite her views on the matter, Bonham Carter doesn't fault her former Potter co-stars who have publicly spoken out against Rowling. The films' leads -- Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint -- have all condemned Rowling's comments and lent their support to the transgender community. 

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When asked if her co-stars were "ungrateful," Bonham Carter replies, "I won’t say that. Personally I feel they should let her have her opinions, but I think they’re very aware of protecting their own fan base and their generation. It’s hard. One thing with the fame game is that there’s an etiquette that comes with it; I don’t agree with talking about other famous people."

Rowling has maintained that she is not transphobic and that her statements have not been transphobic amid the backlash. Bonham Carter is against the idea of cancel culture as a whole. 

"Do you ban a genius for their sexual practices? There would be millions of people who if you looked closely enough at their personal life you would disqualify them," she says. "You can’t ban people. I hate cancel culture. It has become quite hysterical and there’s a kind of witch-hunt and a lack of understanding."


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