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Helena Bonham Carter Sparks Debate After Vehemently Defending Johnny Depp And JK Rowling

The 'Harry Potter' actor said 'cancel culture' has become 'quite hysterical'.

Helena Bonham Carter; Johnny Depp; JK Rowling
Nicky J Sims/Getty Images; Noam Galai/Getty Images for SiriusXM; Mike Marsland/WireImage/Getty Images

Actor Helena Bonham Carter has outraged many after defending colleagues Johnny Depp and Harry Potter author JK Rowling in recent comments.

Depp is accused of abusing his ex-wife Amber Heard, while Rowling has become nearly as infamous for transphobic comments as she is for writing the Potter series.

These controversies have of course made both targets of internet outrage and criticism in recent years, and in a recent interview with UK newspaper The Times, Bonham Carter decried both as victims of "cancel culture."

Bonham Carter railed against "cancel culture" in the interview, telling The Times:

"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.”

She went on to hold up Depp, with whom she has costarred in numerous films including Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, as a prime example of the overreach "cancel culture."

Calling Depp "totally vindicated" of the allegations made by Heard, Bonham Carter said:

“Johnny certainly went through it... I think he’s fine now. Totally fine.”

"Totally vindicated" isn't exactly an accurate representation of the case against Depp.

While he did win sizeable damages from Heard for the defamation trial that ensued after she wrote a 2018 Washington Post op-ed about the abuses she suffered, Depp lost his suit against UK tabloid The Sun for referring to him as a "wife-beater" in regards to Heard, because a high court judge ruled the allegations were "substantially true."

Nevertheless, Bonham Carter went on to claim that Heard's allegations against Depp were simply an attempt to hop aboard the #MeToo "bandwagon." She told The Times:

“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."

Bonham Carter has also worked extensively with Rowling, appearing as Bellatrix Lestrange in the final four Potter film adaptations, and passionately defended her in The Times as well.

Of the backlash to Rowling's transphobic comments, Bonham Carter said:

“It’s horrendous, a load of bollocks. I think she has been hounded."
"It’s been taken to the extreme, the judgmental-ism of people. She’s allowed her opinion, particularly if she’s suffered abuse... She’s not meaning it aggressively, she’s just saying something out of her own experience.”

She also characterized the criticisms of Rowling as being based in jealousy of her success.

"I think there’s a lot of envy unfortunately and the need to tear people down that motors a lot of this cancelling.”

Rowling has frequently voiced her support for activists who identify as "TERFs," or trans-exclusionary radical feminists, and has publicly aligned herself with figures on the fascist far-right who share her transphobic views, as recently as last week.

On Twitter, Bonham Carter's comments left many people angry.

Bonham Carter also spoke of her fellow Potter costars Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson having spoken out about Rowling's transphobic comments.

She told The Times the two actors should "let [Rowling] have her beliefs" and characterized their criticisms as efforts toward "protecting their own fan base and their generation."