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Daniel Radcliffe Compares Warner Bros to NFL Over Johnny Depp ‘Fantastic Beasts’ Casting

”Harry Potter“ star was asked about his thoughts on the backlash over Depp’s role in prequel series

Someone finally asked Daniel Radcliffe what he thinks about the casting of Johnny Depp in the “Harry Potter” spin-off franchise “Fantastic Beasts.” His answer: It reminds him of the NFL’s zero-tolerance policy on smoking weed, but relative tolerance for far worse behavior from the league’s biggest players.

In November, a social media campaign called for Depp to be removed from the upcoming “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald,” due to the accusations of domestic violence against him that became public during his 2016 divorce from Amber Heard. Despite the backlash, Warner Bros., director David Yates, and “Harry Potter” creator J.K. Rowling said they all stood by Depp.

Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, Radcliffe said he wants nothing more than to be supportive of the filmmakers who “gave me a great start in life and an amazing job.” But he said he understands why many fans were unsatisfied with the response from WB, Yates and Rowling.

“I can see why people are frustrated with the response that they were given from that … I’m not saying anything that anybody hasn’t already said — and this is a weird analogy to draw — [but] in the NFL, there are lots of players arrested for smoking weed and there is other people’s behavior that goes way beyond that and it’s tolerated because they’re very famous players.”

The NFL has been criticized for punishing players who engage in behavior such as drug use or kneeling during the national anthem, while continuing to employ players who commit domestic violence. Radcliffe likened that to the main “Harry Potter” franchise, which fired actor Jamie Waylett from the two “Deathly Hallows” films after he was arrested for growing marijuana plants in 2009.

“I suppose the thing I was struck by was,” he continued, “we did have a guy who was reprimanded for weed on the [original ‘Potter’] film, essentially, so obviously what Johnny has been accused of is much greater than that.”

Warner Bros. did not immediately respond to a request for comment from TheWrap.

After their divorce was finalized, Depp and Heard released a statement saying in part that “Neither party has made false accusations for financial gain. There was never any intent of physical or emotional harm.”

“Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald” is scheduled to hit theaters Nov. 16.

For the record: A previous version of this story misspelled Daniel Radcliffe’s name.

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