While J.K. Rowling stated she is “genuinely happy” to have the Depp playing central villain Gellert Grindelwald, Radcliffe called the controversy “a very hard thing,” and couldn’t help but see both sides of the issue — which he illustrated with a football analogy.
“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. I suppose the thing I was struck by was, 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.”
The “guy who was reprimanded for weed” was Jamie Waylett, who played Vincent Crabbe in the first six Harry Potter films. The role of Crabbe was recast for the final two films after Waylett was arrested and plead guilty for growing marijuana plants in 2009.
Fans who are against Depp’s casting have also questioned the discrepancy in dealing with the two offenses, however neither Rowling nor anyone else involved with Fantastic Beasts production have responded.