A popular jury has concluded this Wednesday that Amber Heard defamed Johnny Depp in a Washington Post article where he described himself as a victim of his ill-treatment. The verdict has been debated for three days, an extension being necessary because the seven members failed to reach a unanimous conclusion after nine hours of deliberations on Tuesday. They have also established financial compensation for both.
Johnny Depp vs. Amber Heard: readings of the biggest court show of this millennium
Heard will have to pay 15 million to the actor (10 for compensatory damages and 5 for punitive damages) and the latter, 2 million to the actress, 2 for compensatory damages and zero for punitive damages. The jury has pointed out that three phrases included in the article and submitted to trial were defamatory against Johnny Depp. For her part, she brought to court a statement from Depp's lawyer where she defended him from accusations of ill-treatment and the jury has found that there was defamation in one of her parts.
Heard has been present during the reading of the verdict. Not so her ex-husband, who was seen the night before in a local in London with ex-model Kate Moss.
Heard will have to pay 15 million to the actor (10 for compensatory damages and 5 for punitive) and the latter, 2 million to the actress, 2 for compensatory damages and zero for punitive
For six weeks, the court has heard 122 hours and 30 minutes of testimony – the judge gave each party 61 hours and 15 minutes to testify. The litigation began on April 11, 2022 in the state of Virginia. The jury has not used the words "guilty" or "innocent" since it was not a criminal case, but to settle whether one of the actors (or both) attacked the honor of the other.
It was the year 2018, in the midst of the Me Too effervescence, and it had been two since Heard had filed for divorce and a restraining order against the Pirates of the Caribbean actor for alleged physical and psychological abuse. Both reached a million dollar agreement and she withdrew the order. Then it was he who demanded 50 million dollars from Heard for defamation and, according to Depp, for sinking her career. She countered with a $100 million counterclaim alleging the same thing.
Through the testimonies of family, friends, Hollywood personalities, employees and Depp and Heard themselves, the court has investigated whether or not there was defamation. Not if there was abuse or if it was bidirectional. However, social networks have carried out their parallel and often majority story.
Spectators have attended the trial as if it were a movie and have decided how to consume it: every day live on the Court TV channel or by fragments on social networks. It has been a paradigmatic trial for its content and for the leading role that social network users have taken in it.
Two wounded movie careers
Johnny Depp alleged that after Amber Heard's column in The Washington Post, Disney fired him from the Pirates of the Caribbean series and hired Margot Robbie instead. Then came the cancellation of his contract in Fantastic Beasts, where he has been replaced by the Danish Mads Mikkelsen in the role of Grindelwald. "I didn't understand how, after such a long and quite satisfying relationship for Disney, I was suddenly guilty until proven innocent," he testified at trial.
In the middle of both dismissals, the tabloid The Sun published a cover with his photo in which he was referred to as a "wife beater". Depp denounced the outlet and the judge noted that the headline was "substantially true." For their part, Heard's defense and some of the actor's colleagues argued that the dismissals had nothing to do with the article, but with the environment that he generated on the set and his "unprofessional behavior," as the actor's former agent stated when testify.
She also accused him of having lost papers and relevance in the industry because of this case. In Aquaman 2 she had a good part of the scenes reduced and they were about to kick her out if it wasn't her because Jason Momoa and the film's director, James Wan, objected. During the trial, however, a DC Films executive argued that her dismissal was on the table for a "question of [falta de] chemistry” with Momoa. In addition, Heard has also lost a substantial deal as the face of the L'Oreal brand.