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Buckle in, Helena Bonham Carter has thoughts on J.K. Rowling and Johnny Depp

Helena Bonham Carter defends J.K. Rowling and pal Johnny Depp in a new profile where she decries "cancel culture"

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Helena Bonham Carter talks J.K. Rowling, Johnny Depp
Johnny Depp; Helena Bonham Carter; J.K. Rowling
Photo: Drew Angerer; Nicky J Sims; TOLGA AKMEN/AFP (Getty Images)

Batten down the hatches, because another Harry Potter star has waded into the J.K. Rowling discourse. And this star also has close ties to Johnny Depp, for that elusive Fantastic Beasts double whammy. Helena Bonham Carter gave her thoughts on cancel culture to The Times, saying that it’s “become quite hysterical and there’s a kind of witch-hunt and a lack of understanding.”

“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 philosophizes, while also guessing that there’s no way back “for someone like Kevin Spacey.”

Yet her friend Depp (who, the profile notes, is godfather to her two children with Tim Burton) has been “completely vindicated” after winning a U.S. defamation suit: “I think he’s fine now. Totally fine.” This is despite the court in Bonham Carter’s native U.K. finding claims of abuse to be “substantially true” based on 12 incidents of assault against his ex-wife Amber Heard. Bonham Carter goes on to imply that Heard “[jumped] on the bandwagon” of the #MeToo movement “because it’s the trend and to be the poster girl for it.”


The Times describes the big-screen Bellatrix Lestrange as “most aggrieved about” the treatment of J.K. Rowling. “It’s horrendous, a load of bollocks. I think she has been hounded,” she says. “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.” (Notably, Rowling’s experience of domestic violence and sexual assault did not happen at the hands of a transgender person; rather, she has offered her traumatic experiences as reasons for discriminating against transgender women.)

Bonham Carter logically surmises that “If she hadn’t been the most phenomenal success, the reaction wouldn’t be so great,” chalking the so-called “cancelation” up to “a lot of envy and the need to tear people down,” as well as “schadenfreude.”

She does not, however, want to tear down her fellow HP stars like Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint, who have taken the opposite track. Asked if the young cast is ungrateful, she 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.” After speaking at length about her famous acquaintances, she adds, “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.”