Helena Bonham Carter defends 'hounded' J.K. Rowling, says Johnny Depp 'completely vindicated'

Helena Bonham Carter defends 'hounded' J.K. Rowling, says Johnny Depp 'completely vindicated'
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Helena Bonham Carter has defended author J.K. Rowling and fellow actor Johnny Depp in a new interview following their controversies and legal troubles, respectively.

Bonham Carter portrayed unhinged dark witch Bellatrix Lestrange in the Harry Potter films, which are based on Rowling's books. She also worked with Depp extensively in movies ranging from Dark Shadows and Sweeney Todd to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Alice in Wonderland.

The English actress, now seen on Netflix in Enola Holmes 2, told the Times that she feels Rowling has been "hounded" after sharing her views about trans people and the need for spaces reserved for women who were born female. Bonham Carter also shared that she believes Depp has been "vindicated" by the U.S. defamation trial against ex-wife Amber Heard, who claimed (and still claims) that Depp abused her.

J.K. Rowling, Helena Bonham Carter, and Johnny Depp
J.K. Rowling, Helena Bonham Carter, and Johnny Depp

Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images; Nicky J Sims/Getty Images; Marilla Sicilia/Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images Helena Bonham Carter defends both J.K. Rowling and Johnny Depp in an interview with the 'Times.'

With regards to Rowling, Bonham Carter told the Times, "It's horrendous, a load of bollocks."

"I think she has been hounded," she continued. "It's been taken to the extreme, the judgmentalism of people. She's allowed her opinion, particularly if she's suffered abuse. 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. 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."

Rowling has said in the past that she's not anti-trans and that she supports trans people. However, the Harry Potter creator, who has since spawned a sprawling Hollywood franchise that includes the Fantastic Beasts movies, has repeatedly come under fire by LGBTQ activists and organizations for spreading harmful rhetoric that's been linked to the TERF movement (trans-exclusionary radical feminists), i.e. feminists that don't believe trans women are women.

Bonham Carter referred to an op-ed Rowling wrote in 2020. In it, Rowling argued for the need for safe single-sex spaces for women as non-gendered public bathrooms popped up. She shared her own experience as a survivor of abuse.

J.K Rowling
J.K Rowling

Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images 'Harry Potter' creator and author J.K. Rowling

"I refuse to bow down to a movement that I believe is doing demonstrable harm in seeking to erode 'woman' as a political and biological class and offering cover to predators like few before it," Rowling said in one excerpt. "I stand alongside the brave women and men, gay, straight and trans, who're standing up for freedom of speech and thought, and for the rights and safety of some of the most vulnerable in our society: young gay kids, fragile teenagers, and women who're reliant on and wish to retain their single-sex spaces."

Bonham Carter went on to blame Twitter for inflaming the hate towards Rowling. "No one can talk about ideas there; it becomes polarized and is war, and people waste days being angry inside their head," she said. The actress later added, "If she hadn't been the most phenomenal success, the reaction wouldn't be so great. So I think there's a lot of envy unfortunately and the need to tear people down that motors a lot of this canceling. And schadenfreude."

Many Harry Potter actors, including Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint, have spoken out against Rowling's views. Not everyone in the franchise has followed suit. Bonham Carter's comments follow those of Ralph Fiennes, who played Lord Voldemort in the Harry Potter franchise. The actor recently reiterated his support of Rowling.

"The verbal abuse directed at her is disgusting, it's appalling," he said. "I mean, I can understand a viewpoint that might be angry at what she says about women. But it's not some obscene, über-right-wing fascist. It's just a woman saying, 'I'm a woman and I feel I'm a woman and I want to be able to say that I'm a woman.' And I understand where she's coming from. Even though I'm not a woman."

Johnny Depp at the Puffins red carpet during the Rome Film Fest 2021 on October 17, 2021.
Johnny Depp at the Puffins red carpet during the Rome Film Fest 2021 on October 17, 2021.

Marilla Sicilia/Archivio Marilla Sicilia/Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images Johnny Depp is getting back to work after his legal battles with ex-wife Amber Heard.

The Times also asked Bonham Carter about Depp. She remarked, "Oh, I think he's completely vindicated. I think he's fine now. Totally fine."

Depp sued Heard for defamation after she published an op-ed in the Washington Post in 2018 in which she described herself as a survivor of domestic abuse. Heard did not mention Depp by name, but Depp's legal team argued that she did intentional demonstrative harm to his career since the article published.

A jury sided with Depp in the U.S. trial. A judged awarded him $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages. Heard won her defamation countersuit and was awarded $2 million in compensatory damages. She did not receive punitive damages. Heard had argued that Depp, through his legal team, defamed her by calling her allegations a hoax. Both Depp and Heard are appealing each other's verdicts.

Depp, however, lost his suit against the U.K.'s Sun newspaper in 2020. The actor had sued the publication for libel after the Sun printed an article that referred to Depp as a "wife beater." Heard testified during those proceedings.

A judge determined that the Sun had proved the article was "substantially true" and that "the great majority of alleged assaults of Ms. Heard by Mr. Depp have been proved to the civil standard."

Depp maintains that he did not abuse Heard. Heard maintains that he did.

Read Bonham Carter's full interview with the Times.

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