Johnny Depp has left the Fantastic Beasts film franchise after being asked to resign by Warner Bros. The actor announced the decision in a statement on Instagram just days after he lost his libel case against British newspaper The Sun over claims he abused his ex-wife Amber Heard.
“I wish to let you know that I have been asked to resign by Warner Bros from my role as Grindelwald in Fantastic Beasts and I have respected and agreed to that request,” Depp wrote.
He insisted on his innocence, and added that the “surreal judgment” of the High Court trial “will not change my fight to tell the truth.”
“I confirm that I plan to appeal,” he wrote. “My resolve remains strong and I intend to prove that the allegations against me are false. My life and career will not be defined by this moment in time.”
Warner Bros confirmed Depp’s departure and said his role would be recast.
In a statement, the film studio said: “Johnny Depp will depart the Fantastic Beasts franchise. We thank Johnny for his work on the films to date. Fantastic Beasts 3 is currently in production, and the role of Gellert Grindelwald will be recast.”
Depp had sued the publisher of The Sun newspaper over a 2018 article, which claimed he assaulted his ex-wife Amber Heard.
In the high profile court judgment earlier this week, Judge Justice Nicol ruled that the tabloid’s report on allegations that he was violent towards Heard was “substantially true”.
During the hearing, the court was told of Depp’s extensive use of drink and drugs, read texts in which he called his ex-wife a “witch”, and shown videos of him punching and hitting kitchen cupboards.
Depp made a brief appearance as Grindelwald in 2016’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and reprised his role in 2018’s Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.
The films are prequels to the eight Harry Potter films, which were based on the novels by JK Rowling.