Helena Bonham Carter Defends J.K. Rowling, Johnny Depp: It's a 'Witch Hunt'

Hollywood’s curse? Helena Bonham Carter defended J.K. Rowling and Johnny Depp amid their respective controversies — and took a strong stance against cancel culture in the process.

What the ‘Harry Potter’ Cast Has Said About J.K. Rowling Amid Controversy

“Do you ban a genius for their sexual practices?” the actress, 56, told U.K. outlet The Times in an interview published on Saturday, November 26. “There would be millions of people who, if you looked closely enough at their personal life, you would disqualify them. 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.”

When asked whether there were avenues for an A-lister to redeem themselves in the industry after a highly publicized scandal, the Crown alum was skeptical. “I don’t think there is for someone like Kevin Spacey,” she said, referring to the Seven star’s sexual assault allegations and subsequent legal drama. “And Johnny certainly went through it.”

Depp, 59, was awarded $15 million earlier this year in his defamation lawsuit against ex-wife Amber Heard, who previously identified herself as a victim of domestic violence. The jury reached its verdict in June after weeks in court.

Johnny Depp and Amber Heard’s Ups and Downs Through the Years

“From the very beginning, the goal of bringing this case was to reveal the truth, regardless of the outcome,” the Pirates of the Caribbean star claimed in a statement following his legal victory. “Speaking the truth was something that I owed to my children and to all those who have remained steadfast in their support of me. I feel at peace knowing I have finally accomplished that. … Truth never perishes.”

Bonham Carter has starred alongside Depp in several Tim Burton projects including Corpse Bride, Sweeney Todd, Alice in Wonderland, Dark Shadows and more. She asserted in her interview that the Kentucky native — who is godfather to her children with Burton — was “completely vindicated” after his trial.

“I think he’s fine now. Totally fine,” the British actress said. “My view is that [Amber Heard] got on that [#MeToo] 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.”

The King’s Speech star went on to throw her support behind Rowling, 57, who has sparked backlash multiple times over the years for her controversial opinions about the transgender community. The Harry Potter author has frequently been called a TERF (trans exclusionary radical feminist), but Bonham Carter doesn’t think the label is warranted.

“It’s horrendous, a load of bollocks. I think she has been hounded,” argued the Oscar nominee, who played Bellatrix Lestrange in four of the Harry Potter movies. “It’s been taken to the extreme, the judgmental-ism 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.”

Revisit J.K. Rowling’s Most Controversial Moments

Several of her Harry Potter costars — including Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson — have publicly spoken out against Rowling’s views. However, Bonham Carter believes the writer is entitled to her own opinions.

“I think they’re very aware of protecting their own fan base and their generation,” she said of her castmates. “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. … If she hadn’t been the most phenomenal success, the reaction wouldn’t be so great.”

Radcliffe, 33, recently explained why he decided to take a stand against Rowling’s controversial remarks. “I’ve met so many queer and trans kids and young people who had a huge amount of identification with Potter on that,” he told IndieWire earlier this month, pointing out that he wanted to reassure fans that “not everybody in the franchise” held Rowling’s beliefs. “It was really important as I’ve worked with the Trevor Project for more than 10 years, and so I don’t think I would’ve been able to look myself in the mirror had I not said anything. But it’s not mine to guess what’s going on in someone else’s head.”

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