Ms Rowling has created something she does not fully understand. Her recent statement betray an ignorance of the strong social justice fans of her work have developed, in part due to her influence.
It would have been better to remain silent rather than release a statement in support of Depp.
Phrases such as “conscience is not governable by committee” are jarring to an audience who recently witnessed the expulsion of Weinstein following an Oscars Board Vote. It simply will not fly.
Is it fair to say the collective social conscience of Potter fans has been moulded by Rowling’s work? The article ‘The greatest magic of Harry Potter: Reducing prejudice’ suggests so, as do her fans themselves.
Imagine the Potter series as a holy book, and Rowling a disappointing god. This is the first bitter instance where Potter fans genuinely feel Rowling is on the wrong side of history. With such a stellar record it was bound to happen eventually.
Rowling, so famously progressive, has unwittingly strengthened the untouchability of alleged abusers of a certain race and gender, at a pivotal moment when their security was beginning to crumble.
Whether Rowling understands or not, the Potterverse is in need of a messiah in the form of recasting, and the sacrifice of a former poster boy on the altar of conscience.
Even now, the Potterverse may offer forgiveness if Depp is ousted before the film’s release. Any move to do so after the fact would be attributed to lack of sales rather than the great moral epiphany fans are awaiting.
Ms Rowling, there is still time.
ETA: the author is not a Potter/Fantastic Beasts fan but has found this detached stance useful when writing this article.