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Depp v. Heard

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Depp v. Heard
Seal of Virginia.svg
CourtCircuit Court of Fairfax County
Full case nameJohn C. Depp, II v. Amber Laura Heard
StartedApril 11, 2022
Court membership
Judge(s) sittingPenney Azcarate[1]

John C. Depp, II v. Amber Laura Heard (CL-2019-2911)[2] is an ongoing defamation trial in Fairfax County, Virginia, that began on April 11, 2022.[3] Plaintiff Johnny Depp is making claim for three counts of defamation for "$50,000,000 +" in damages from defendant Amber Heard,[4] who is counterclaiming $100 million. The parties are film actors who were married from 2015 to 2017.[5] Previously accused by Heard of intimate partner violence, Depp sued his ex-wife in February 2019 over an op-ed she wrote which was published by The Washington Post in December 2018.[6] Depp blamed Heard's op-ed for extensive financial losses to his career and claimed it damaged his ability to profit from his vocation. In the op-ed, Heard had described becoming "a public figure representing domestic abuse" and "seeing, in real time, how institutions protect men accused of abuse."[7][8]

Background

Depp and Heard's relationship

Johnny Depp (left) is suing his ex-wife Amber Heard (right) for defamation over an op-ed she wrote for The Washington Post
in 2018.

Actors Johnny Depp and Amber Heard began a relationship in 2012 and married in Los Angeles in February 2015.[9] Heard filed for divorce on May 23, 2016, and obtained a temporary restraining order (TRO) against Depp.[10][11][12] In response, he alleged that she was "attempting to secure a premature financial resolution by alleging abuse."[7] Heard testified about the alleged abuse at a deposition during their divorce litigation, alleging that Depp had been "verbally and physically abusive" throughout their relationship, usually while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.[13] The divorce received much publicity, with images of Heard's alleged injuries published by the media.[14]

A settlement was reached in August 2016, and the divorce was finalized in January 2017.[15] Heard withdrew the restraining order, and she and Depp released a joint statement stating that their "relationship was intensely passionate and periodically volatile, but always bound by love. Neither party has made false accusations for financial gain. There was never any intent of physical or emotional harm."[7]

Depp paid Heard a settlement of US$7 million, which she pledged to donate to the American Civil Liberties Union and the Children's Hospital Los Angeles.[16][17] The settlement also included a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) preventing either party from discussing their relationship publicly.[18]

Depp v News Group Newspapers Ltd

In April 2018, UK tabloid The Sun published an article entitled: "Gone Potty: How can JK Rowling be 'genuinely happy' casting wife beater Johnny Depp in the new Fantastic Beasts film?"[7][19] In response, Depp sued News Group Newspapers, the publisher of The Sun, and then executive editor[a] Dan Wootton for libel in June 2018.[7][19] Both Depp and Heard testified in the trial, which focused on evaluating 14 alleged incidents of abuse, at the High Court of Justice in July 2020.[20][21] In November 2020, Justice Andrew Nicol found that Depp had lost his case as the allegations against him had been proven to a civil standard and were found to be "substantially true."[22][21] The verdict found that there was "overwhelming evidence" that Depp had assaulted Heard several times and put her in fear of her life.[23][21][24]

After the verdict, Depp resigned from the Fantastic Beasts film series at the request of Warner Bros., its production company.[25] In March 2021, the Court of Appeal rejected Depp's request to appeal the verdict, concluding that he had a "full and fair" trial, and that "the judge based his conclusions on each of the incidents on his extremely detailed review of the evidence specific to each incident [...] in an approach of that kind there was little need or room for the judge to give weight to any general assessment of Ms Heard's credibility."[26] According to The New York Times, the use of material from the UK trial has been limited in the US case, but the specifics have not been disclosed publicly.[23]

Heard's op-ed in The Washington Post

In December 2018, The Washington Post published an op-ed article written by Heard; it was titled: "Amber Heard: I spoke up against sexual violence — and faced our culture's wrath. That has to change."[27][7][28] In the article, Heard stated: "Two years ago, I became a public figure representing domestic abuse, and I felt the full force of our culture's wrath for women who speak out. [...] I had the rare vantage point of seeing, in real time, how institutions protect men accused of abuse."[7][29] She further stated that as a result of this, she had lost a film role and an advertising campaign for a global fashion brand.[23] The op-ed, which identified Heard as an ambassador on women's rights at the American Civil Liberties Union, called for the Congress to re-authorize the Violence Against Women Act and raised concern about the changes Betsy DeVos had proposed to Title IX, which Heard argued could potentially "weaken protections for sexual assault survivors."[23][27]

Trial

In February 2019, Depp sued Heard over her December 2018 op-ed in The Washington Post.[6][30] Depp also repeated his allegation that Heard had been the abuser and that her allegations constituted a hoax against him.[30] In August 2020, Heard countersued Depp, alleging that he had coordinated "a harassment campaign via Twitter and [by] orchestrating online petitions in an effort to get her fired from Aquaman and L'Oréal."[31][32] The trial is being held in a court in Fairfax County in the state of Virginia, as the servers for The Washington Post's online edition are located in the county.[33]

Pre-trial developments

In October 2020, the judge in the case disqualified Depp's lawyer Adam Waldman from representing Depp after he leaked confidential information covered by a protective order to the media.[34] Following the verdict in Depp's lawsuit against The Sun the following month, Heard's lawyers filed to have the defamation suit dismissed; however, Judge Penney S. Azcarate ruled against it because Heard had been a witness, not a defendant in the UK case; Azcarate also would not allow British justice to impact American justice.[35] In August 2021, a New York judge ruled that the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) had to disclose documents related to Heard's charity pledge to the organization.[36][37]

The trial began with jury selection in Fairfax County, Virginia, on April 11, 2022.[5] Actors Paul Bettany, James Franco, and Ellen Barkin have been mentioned as being expected to testify.[38] According to a source close to his legal team, Tesla CEO and Heard's former boyfriend Elon Musk was originally listed as a potential witness; however, he decided not to testify.[39]

Opening statements

On April 12, 2022, lawyers Benjamin G. Chew and Camille Vasquez made opening statements on behalf of Depp.[40][41] They accused Heard of making up domestic abuse accusations about Depp to further her career, with Chew also stating that Heard made the accusations because Depp had asked for a divorce.[38] They argued that while Heard's 2018 op-ed did not mention Depp, it was clear by implication that it referred to him.[29] Chew argued that Heard's writing in that article ("two years ago, I became a public figure representing domestic abuse") was a reference to her May 2016 restraining order request, in which she claimed that Depp had physically abused her.[29] Chew discussed Heard appearing in public with a bruised face on May 27, 2016, accusing her of staging the injury, citing that Depp had not met her since May 21, 2016, and witnesses did not see her with the injury immediately after May 21, 2016.[29] Depp's lawyers described Heard as giving the "performance of her life" and a liar, "obsessed" with her image.[42]

Heard's lawyers, Elaine Bredehoft and J. Benjamin Rottenborn, claimed that Depp had physically and sexually abused Heard on multiple occasions during their relationship, usually triggered by his addiction to alcohol and drugs.[29][38][40] They accused Depp of seeking to "humiliate Amber, haunt her, wreck her career" with the Virginia lawsuit, and to turn the case into a "soap opera."[38] Rottenborn further argued that the First Amendment protected Heard's right to express her views in the op-ed, which was mostly focused on a broad discussion of domestic violence and did not specifically mention Depp's name.[29] Rottenborn also argued that it had not changed Depp's reputation as the abuse allegations had become public knowledge two years prior to the op-ed, and that Depp had instead ruined his career in Hollywood with his drinking and drug use making him unreliable in the eyes of film studios.[29]

Witness testimony for Depp

Week 1

The first witness to testify for Depp was his sister and personal manager, Christi Dembrowski, who testified that Depp had sworn never to perpetrate domestic violence after being abused as a child by their mother.[43] Dembrowski testified that Depp had to hide from their mother in the past and also had to hide from Heard during the relationship, with Dembrowski stating she had to book an additional hotel room for Depp whenever Heard initiated fights.[44] Dembrowski denied she was concerned about Depp's use of alcohol and drugs; under cross-examination, she said she had been concerned about his use of prescribed pain medication.[43][44]

Depp's longtime friend and neighbor during his marriage to Heard, artist Isaac Baruch,[44] testified that Heard told him in May 2016 that Depp had thrown a phone at her and hit her, prompting him to "inspect her face" and see no injuries.[43] Under cross-examination, Baruch said he observed no makeup on Heard's face that could be used to conceal injuries, but testified he was not an expert in makeup application.[44] He said that Depp's family had been "completely wrecked" by Heard's "fraudulent" claims of domestic abuse. He also testified to seeing security camera footage of Heard with her sister, Whitney, in which Heard was seen laughing after Whitney threw a "fake punch" across Heard's face; Depp's lawyer argued this was practice for Heard to "feign abuse from Depp."[44][45]

Eastern Columbia Building general manager Brandon Patterson provided a videotaped deposition; this confirmed the accuracy of approximately 80 CCTV videotapes from the building.[45] Depp's lawyers then called Gina Deuters, the wife of his employee, Stephen Deuters, to testify. Her testimony was interrupted when Heard's friend, Eve Barlow, showed Heard's lawyer an Instagram post written by Deuters, prompting the judge to ask Deuters if she had been watching the trial. Deuters admitted to having seen video clips, and her testimony was struck from the record.[46][47] Depp's attorneys later pointed out that the Instagram post was from January 2021, and accused Heard's lawyer of misrepresenting information to the court. The judge subsequently banned Barlow from attending the trial for violating its no-phone policy.[48][49]

The jury was then shown a pre-recorded deposition by Heard's former personal assistant, Kate James, who described Heard as "belligerent and abusive," saying Heard frequently screamed at her and sent abusive and "incoherent" text messages. She testified Heard used psychedelic mushrooms, ecstasy, and cocaine and was prone to "manic episodes [...] similar to if someone was on some kind of amphetamine drug. Moving fast, not making a lot of sense. Hyper-organizing." She further testified that Heard had treated her own sister badly, with a "kick-the-dog kind of relationship."[50] James denied she knew what Depp meant with a text message he sent to her after the divorce, in which he asked James to "Come over for a spot of purple and we'll fix her flabby ass nice and good."[51][52]

Laurel Anderson, Depp and Heard's therapist in 2015, testified that there was "mutual abuse" during the marriage, with both parties at times initiating violent conflicts.[50][53][51] She described Heard as having a fear of abandonment that caused her to initiate violence against Depp, adding that he attempted to "de-escalate" the violence more often than Heard.[52] She further testified that both Depp and Heard had been beaten by a parent as children, characterizing Depp as "well-controlled" over decades and not violent against previous partners, but that he was "triggered" when with Heard.[53] Anderson stated that for Heard, it was "a point of pride to her, if she felt disrespected, to initiate a fight" and that if Depp was "going to leave her to de-escalate a fight, she would strike him to keep him there."[50][53][51] She stated she had seen bruises on Heard in both images and in person, and that Depp had told her that Heard "gave as good as she got."[50][53][51]

In a pre-recorded deposition, Depp's private physician, David Kipper, testified he had diagnosed Depp with ADHD, bipolar disorder, depression, insomnia, substance dependence, and chronic reflux.[54] Kipper stated he attempted to detox Depp of addictions to alcohol, opioids, benzodiazepines, and cocaine several years ago, with Depp "concerned he'd never feel normal without his drugs."[50] During treatment, Depp attempted to fire Kipper because Depp "didn't think he could do it."[50] Kipper denied witnessing violence between Depp and Heard.[55] Kipper testified that when he visited Depp's rented property in Australia after the incident in which Depp's finger had been severed, he saw blood and that the house was messy: "There were things that had been thrown around."[54][55] He accompanied Depp to the hospital following the incident, where he said he would withdraw his care if Depp did not comply with a drug treatment plan, saying Depp had to be "stable" for the surgeries for his finger. Kipper also testified that sometime later, Depp texted him saying he had begun using Xanax as it "takes the edge off. I don't take them all that often, just when my brain is inundated with this badgering and half-truths from my wife."[50]

Week 2

Debbie Lloyd, who worked with Kipper as a nurse, testified the relationship was "toxic" and that Heard would instigate arguments with Depp.[54][56] She said she attended Depp's rented house in Australia in 2015 after his finger injury, describing the property as being in disarray, with writing on the walls and a destroyed television set; she also described searching the property for Depp's severed fingertip.[54]

Keenan Wyatt, Depp's on-set audio technician since the 1990s, testified he had never witnessed Depp being abusive.[56] He was onboard a private plane flight during which Heard alleges Depp was abusive towards her, and denied seeing Depp shout at Heard or pass out in the plane's bathroom.[57] Instead, he said Heard had been giving Depp "the cold shoulder" on the journey, and that she shouted at Wyatt after he attempted to speak to her.[58]

Depp's security guard, Sean Bett, testified that he had never seen Depp or Heard be violent towards each other, but that their relationship eventually descended to "constant arguing and bickering." Bett also presented to the court photographs he had taken in March and December 2015 of Depp's injuries.[59]

In his testimony, Depp said he had "never struck" Heard or any other woman,[56] and had sued her to clear his name and to repair the damage her allegations caused to his career.[57] He described his childhood with an abusive mother and said he used drugs as self-medication to cope with his childhood trauma. He denied having been addicted to any substance other than Roxicodone and stated that Heard had "grossly embellished" the extent of his "quote-unquote substance abuse."[60] Depp testified that Heard often insulted him verbally and that as these incidents "continued to escalate, I went straight to what I had learned as a youth, which was to remove myself from the situation so that it couldn't continue because there's only so much your ears can hear and never forget."[61]

Depp also testified that Heard had sometimes been physically abusive,[62][63] and testified about the specific incidents that Heard had alleged he had been violent.[64] He denied becoming violent over a comment Heard made about one of his tattoos in 2013,[63] and claimed Heard withheld his medication to help treat the withdrawal symptoms of his prescription painkiller addiction while he was detoxing in the Bahamas in 2014.[64] He testified that, during the incident on a private plane flight in 2014, Heard had tried to initiate a fight,[64] but that he locked himself in a bathroom to avoid her and eventually fell asleep in there after taking two painkillers.[63] Audio recordings were played for the jury. In one recording, Heard tells Depp: "I did not punch you. [...] I did not fucking deck you. I fucking was hitting you. [...] You're a fucking baby. [...] Grow the fuck up, Johnny. I did start a physical fight."[65] In another, Depp accuses Heard of throwing pots and pans at him, which she admits to, while in yet another, Depp accuses Heard of kicking a bathroom door into his face, to which Heard says she cannot remember as she was on Ambien at the time.[65]

Depp testified that the argument in Australia in March 2015 originated after Heard had a conversation with Depp's lawyer about signing a postnuptial agreement. He said he once again locked himself in a bathroom while Heard was "banging on the doors and screaming obscenities and wanting to have a physical altercation."[61] He said he was left distraught by the incident and relapsed by drinking vodka when he exited the bathroom. When Heard discovered him consuming alcohol, he says she threw two vodka bottles at him, severing a finger on his right hand.[61] He said this had caused him to have a "nervous breakdown."[63] After hiding in a closet for some time, he began writing on the walls with his own blood about "little reminders from our past that essentially represented lies that she had told me — lies that I had caught her in."[64] He said he lied to Australian healthcare professionals about the cause of the injury because he "didn't want to get her in trouble."[63] In December 2015, he stated he had accidentally headbutted Heard while trying to prevent her from attacking him and that Heard had tried to fake breaking her nose with nail polish.[64] He further accused Heard of hitting him in the face during an argument at her birthday party in April 2016,[64] and of leaving human feces on his side of the bed soon after.[63]

Under cross-examination, Heard's legal team played recordings of Depp.[66] In one recording, Depp tells Heard: "Walking away is necessary [...] especially between you and I. It's of utmost importance. The next move, if I don't walk away [...] it's going to be a bloodbath, like it was on the island."[67] In some of the audio recordings, Depp shouted insults and vulgarities at Heard.[68] In another recording, Heard says she ended their relationship "after you beat the shit out of me," and later on in the same conversation, Depp says he "made a huge mistake," but it was unclear what mistake Depp was referring to, Variety reported.[69] Regarding a recording where Heard tells Depp to put his "cigarettes out on someone else," Depp testified his belief that Heard "grossly exaggerated."[68][70] In a different recording, Heard tells Depp: "I want couch. By the way, you just threw a fucking cigarette on me." Depp testifies the incident was about Heard "ordering me on the couch," denied putting out a cigarette on her, but acknowledged that he may have flicked cigarette ash at Heard.[71] In a recording from July 2016, after the couple had filed for divorce and after Heard filed for a temporary restraining order, Depp asks Heard, "Where do you want the scar?" (where he should cut himself), while Heard responds by repeatedly asking Depp not to "cut" himself.[72] Depp testified that he "wasn't threatening to hurt myself," but that he was "broken" and "couldn't take it," and that he had asked Heard to "spill my blood because that was the only thing she didn't have at that point."[73]

Under cross-examination, Depp was also asked about text messages he sent.[69] In text messages to actor Paul Bettany, Depp made a call to "drown" and "burn Amber," then stated: "I will fuck her burnt corpse afterwards to make sure she's dead."[69] Bettany replied: "My thoughts entirely. Let's be certain before we pronounce her a witch."[74] Depp testified that these messages were a reference to a Monty Python skit regarding burning and drowning witches, calling it "irreverent and abstract humour."[69][68] Regarding a text message where Depp stated that he had "fucked up and went too far in our fight," Depp denied that this was describing physical violence.[69] In another message regarding a May 2014 flight, Depp states that he took "powders," "pills," and various types of alcohol including "a thousand Red Bull vodkas," becoming "an angry aggro injun in a fucking blackout, screaming obscenities and insulting any fuck who got near," to which Depp testified that he was exaggerating.[69] In text messages to various people, Depp referred to "the monster" — Depp gave various explanations to the term, such as alcohol and drugs. Heard viewed it as referring to his usage of drugs.[69]

Depp was also shown several negative articles about him from 2014 until 2018, which Heard's lawyers allege demonstrate that Depp's reputation had been damaged prior to Heard's 2018 op-ed.[68] He called the articles "hit pieces" and denied knowing that the Daily Mail had reported that he had been fired from the Pirates franchise in October 2018, over a month prior to Heard's op-ed being published.[69]

Week 3

Following Depp finishing his testimony and cross-examination, Ben King, his former house manager, took the stand, testifying about the aftermath of an incident at the couple's rented house in Australia in March 2015.[75][76] He described the damage to the house in detail and said that Heard was crying "uncontrollably." He also described searching for Depp's severed fingertip. On a flight back to Los Angeles with Heard, he noticed long marks on her forearms. He said that Heard had asked him if he had "ever been so angry with someone that you lost it with them?."[75]

Tara Roberts, who had managed Depp's private island in the Bahamas at the time of the relationship, testified next saying that she never saw Heard with any kind of bruises[77] but saying that she had once seen Depp with a "mark across the bridge of his nose" and had witnessed Heard calling him a "washed-up actor going to die a fat, lonely old man" during a dispute.[78] When cross-examined, Roberts described Depp's high tolerance for alcohol and affirmed that in one incident, Depp fell out of his hammock and was found lying face down in the sand.[79][80][78] Roberts testified that shortly after this incident, she had arranged for Depp's two children and Heard to leave the island.[79]

Pre-recorded testimony by officers Melissa Saenz and Tyler Hadden of the Los Angeles Police Department, who had responded to a May 2016 incident between the couple, was then played for the court. Both officers stated that they saw no visible signs of injury on Heard, saying that she looked "red with emotion" and that she was "uncooperative." They left the premises after determining no crime had been committed.[81] A third officer, William Gatlin, testified that he had visited the penthouse later that same evening but also did not see any signs of injury on Heard, leaving two minutes later.[82]

Shannon Curry, a forensic psychologist hired by Depp's team, provided evidence against Heard's claim that she had post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) stemming from the relationship. Curry testified that she spent 12 hours with Heard, ate muffins[83] and conducted multiple mental health tests.[84][85][78] She also examined Heard's medical records, "all the case documents," as well as audio, photos and videos.[85][84] Curry testified that Heard was "grossly exaggerating symptoms of PTSD when asked about them," as Heard told Curry that she had 19 of the 20 "core symptoms" of PTSD, which Curry stated was "not typical of somebody with even the most disabling form of PTSD." After interviewing Heard further, Curry found that Heard only had three of the 20 "core symptoms" of PTSD and concluded that Heard did not have this disorder.[85]

Curry instead diagnosed Heard with borderline personality disorder (BPD) and histrionic personality disorder (HPD), based in particular on her results from the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory Volume 2 (MMPI-2).[80][78][77] Curry testified that Heard's borderline personality disorder manifested in "instability" that is "driven by this underlying terror of abandonment."[85] Curry testified that people with borderline personality disorder "will make desperate attempts to prevent" abandonment and that the disorder "seems to be a predictive factor for women who implement violence against their partner."[85] Curry said histrionic personality disorder has correlations with "drama and shallowness."[77]

Under cross-examination, Heard's lawyer argued that although Curry did not meet Heard until December 2021, Depp's lawyers had already stated in their February 2021 court filings that Curry would diagnose Heard with borderline personality disorder and testify to her making false accusations of abuse.[86] Curry denied this was her opinion at that time and said she based her diagnosis on evidence.[80][86] Curry stated that she did not conclude that Heard's behavior "suggests her allegations of abuse against Mr. Depp are false,"[79] and that even though she did not diagnose Heard with PTSD, Heard could still possibly have been "harmed psychologically" by the alleged abuse.[84] Separately, Curry stated that it was rare for male abusers to accuse their female partners of abuse.[79] Curry was questioned by Heard's lawyers about potential bias, regarding Curry having dinner at Depp's house with Depp and his former lawyer Adam Waldman before she was hired. In response Curry said, "That’s not quite right, I was interviewed at Mr. Depp’s home by his legal team. Dinner was served."[87][79][80][88] Curry also stated that she had not conducted any evaluation on Depp's mental health.[80]

Talent agent Christian Carino, who had previously been both Depp and Heard's friend and agent, testified that he believed that Heard's allegations were a deciding factor in Disney dropping Depp from the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise.[89][90] A pre-recorded deposition of Alejandro Romero, who worked as a doorman at the building in which Depp and Heard lived together, was shown in court. He stated that he had not seen any injury to Heard's face or makeup covering it. He also mentioned his disapproval of being involved in the case.[91]

In a video recording, Terrence Dougherty, chief operating officer of the American Civil Liberties Union, testified that the ACLU was involved with "conceiving, drafting, and placing" the 2018 Washington Post op-ed that was credited to Heard, and that the goal was to "capitalize on the tremendous campaign for Aquaman" (2018), which Heard starred in.[92] Dougherty also stated that the piece had been edited multiple times by Heard's legal team and the ACLU, and that she was referring to Depp.[93] He stated that Heard had pledged to donate $3.5 million, which was half of her divorce settlement from Depp, to the ACLU over a ten-year period.[94] Dougherty testified that the ACLU had so far received a total of $1.3 million between 2016 and 2018, of which $350,000 was directly from Heard, $500,000 from a donor advised fund believed to be of Elon Musk, whom Heard was dating at the time, $350,000 from another donor advised fund and $100,000 directly from Depp as part of the settlement.[95] Since December 2018, the ACLU has not received further installments and in 2019 learned that Heard was "having financial problems and could not fulfill the remainder of the pledge."[93]

Depp's accountant Edward White testified that Heard had initially asked for $4 million in the divorce, but had then increased the amount.[96] He also testified that Depp's wine bill had dropped from $160,000 annually "to virtually zero" after the divorce.[97]

Malcolm Connelly, a security guard of Depp's, testified that Heard "wanted to wear the pants in the relationship" and that he had seen her throw items at Depp.[98][96] He alleged seeing scratches and bruises on Depp, but never on Heard. He testified that when he arrived at the couple's rented house in Australia after Depp had injured his finger, he had seen Heard scream at Depp, accusing him of being a coward.[98][96] Under cross-examination, in regard to gifts he had exchanged with Depp, Connelly offered that Depp's gifts to him were worth "a lot more" than $8,500. Connelly further stated that he was loyal to Depp, citing his loyalty to employers.[98] When a recording was played of Depp shouting "make me feel sick" in the incident in Australia, Connelly affirmed that Depp had been angry at the time.[98] Connelly also testified that he had seen Depp smoke marijuana and suspected that he used cocaine.[96]

Starling Jenkins III, another security guard of Depp's, testified that Heard had told him that the feces left in her and Depp's bed in April 2016 was a "horrible practical joke gone wrong."[99] He also claimed to have seen Heard vomit from alcohol and psychedelic mushrooms in Coachella, and denied that he could have confused Heard with her sister, who was pregnant and sick at the time.[99]

Week 4

Travis McGivern, Depp's bodyguard, testified that he had witnessed Heard verbally insult Depp and was present during an incident between the couple in March 2015 that Heard alleges Depp abused her. McGivern contradicted Heard's claims, stating that Depp did not attack her physically, although he said Heard and Depp exchanged "verbal vitriol."[100][101][102] Instead, McGivern testified that he witnessed Heard throw a Red Bull can and a bag at Depp, and spat at and punched Depp in the face, resulting in his face becoming red and swollen.[101][103] He also testified seeing Depp throw racks of Heard's clothing down some stairs during the incident.[102] McGivern denied that Heard had punched Depp to protect her sister.[101][104] Separately, McGivern testified that Depp had a high tolerance for alcohol and substances, becoming "chill" when he was high.[101]

The court also heard testimonies from several people regarding Depp's career. Jack Whigham, Depp's agent since October 2016, testified that Heard's Washington Post op-ed, as a "first-person account coming from the victim," was "catastrophic" to Depp's career.[105][103][102] Whigham testified that after Heard initially publicly accused Depp of domestic violence in 2016, Depp was still able to appear in films such as City of Lies, Murder on the Orient Express, and Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, all of which were filmed in 2017, making Depp over $30 million, under contracts that had been made prior to the allegations becoming public.[101][103] He stated that after the 2018 op-ed, Depp suffered a pay cut for the film Minamata, and lost a potential $22.5 million that he would have received from acting in another Pirates of the Caribbean film, based on a verbal agreement with Disney.[101][103][102] Under cross-examination, Whigham testified that Disney executive Sean Bailey had not committed to hiring Depp for further Pirates films, although producer Jerry Bruckheimer had been very interested in the prospect.[105][103]

Richard Marks, an entertainment lawyer, testified that Heard's op-ed was "devastating" for Depp's career, as it was "the type of MeToo claim that has canceled a list of actors."[102] Marks said that the op-ed, in alleging physical abuse, was "something different" from articles discussing Depp's drug and alcohol consumption, which he claimed was behavior that Hollywood could tolerate.[102] During cross-examination, Marks admitted that various publications had written articles criticizing Depp.[102] Marks also affirmed that Disney had forwarded all their documents stemming from their business relationship with Depp, and that these documents did not mention Heard's op-ed.[105]

Douglas Bania, an intellectual property expert, provided testimony regarding Depp's reputation, using charts that showed his analysis of Depp's Q score, which is used to measure celebrity likability, and Google search results of his name.[105] Bania stated that since Heard's 2016 allegations, search results for Depp had become much more negative, and his Q score had dropped.[105] He testified that his analysis did not attempt to differentiate the impact to Depp's reputation from his 2018 lawsuit against The Sun and Heard's op-ed.[105]

Michael Spindler, an economic damages expert, testified that in the two years after the publication of Heard's op-ed, Depp "suffered lost earnings of approximately $40 million" due to Disney declining to cast him in Pirates 6 and for lost opportunities in non-franchise films. Under cross-examination, Spindler stated that he could not determine whether these losses were because of the op-ed.[106]

Erin Falati (formerly Boerum), Heard's nurse during the relationship, testified in a pre-recorded video deposition that Heard had sometimes reported to her problems with jealousy and insecurity, and that her "previous coping skills" included "compulsive anger and yelling."[107] Heard had also reported to her having an addiction to alcohol and cocaine, although she had abstained from the latter for "a couple of years."[107] Heard further reported to her a "history of anxiety, eating disorder, attention deficit disorder, bipolar disorder, codependency issues and occasional insomnia."[107] Falati testified that there was "a general sense of discord in the relationship … disagreements, reconciliation and kind of that repeating pattern."[1] In December 2015, she had witnessed Heard with a split lip, but otherwise had not observed any injuries.[1]

Depp and his attorneys rested their case later on May 3, 2022, after 13 days of testimony.[1]

Witness testimony for Heard

Week 4

The first defense witness was board-certified forensic psychologist Dawn Hughes, who had been hired by Heard's legal team.[108][109][110] Hughes, an expert in traumatic stress, violence, and abuse, began her testimony by describing the typical patterns in abusive relationships and how victims of abuse usually attempt to keep up an "appearance of normalcy."[108] She stated that it was not unusual for women who are abused to act violently in self-defense.[108] Hughes evaluated Heard for a total of 29 hours in 2019 and 2021, conducted psychological tests on her, interviewed Heard's therapists, interviewed her mother, reviewed all case records, and reviewed her medical records.[108][109][111][112] Heard reported to her several "incidents of sexual violence" and "physically violent behaviors" by Depp.[113][108][110]

Hughes testified that "Heard's report of intimate partner violence and the records [Hughes] reviewed is consistent with what we know in the field about intimate partner violence, characterized by physical violence, psychological aggression, sexual violence, coercive control, and surveillance behaviors."[108][114] Hughes diagnosed Heard with post-traumatic stress disorder that was caused by the alleged abuse by Depp.[108][112] Hughes said that Heard did not have borderline personality disorder or histrionic personality disorder, contradicting plaintiff witness Shannon Curry.[110] Hughes also stated that none of Heard's previous therapists had diagnosed Heard with a personality disorder, that Heard had told them contemporaneously that she had been abused and that two of them had feared for Heard's welfare.[108][110]

Under cross-examination, Hughes agreed with Depp's legal team that she "did not render judgment on whether Depp engaged in intimate partner violence," but rather, she "formed the opinion that Heard's reporting is consistent with what we know of intimate partner violence."[109] When Depp's legal team noted that Hughes had never spoken to Depp, Hughes defended her conclusions about the relationship, saying that she reached them by analyzing testimony, transcripts, and messages.[109] Hughes also stated that Heard told her that Depp had forced her to practice oral sex, but testified during cross-examination that Heard had initially described this as consensual "angry sex" without alleging any "physical force."[115][116] Hughes also testified that Heard admitted to hitting Depp "a number of times, in a number of instances,"[109] as well as shoving, pushing, and insulting him.[112] She argued that this was not comparable to the abuse Heard claimed to have suffered from Depp,[108][112] and that establishing a full picture of the dynamics of the relationship is key to evaluating domestic abuse, stating, "You have to examine the differential of power and control — and coercive control — in the relationship to make a full determination."[117]

Following Hughes, Heard started her testimony.[118][119] She testified that the abuse began in 2012 with insults and controlling behavior from Depp,[120][121] and first escalated to violence in 2013, when she alleges that Depp hit her several times when she laughed at one of his tattoos.[120][121] Heard testified that Depp was deeply jealous, did not want her to work, and that their relationship became "a never-ending fight."[122][120][123] She said that Depp was especially prone to rage when under the influence of alcohol or drugs, often disappearing after a fight.[122][120] Heard testified that when he would get sober, Depp would "go back to being this unbelievable, warm, generous, kind man that I loved" and that she remained in the relationship because she wanted to believe that Depp would be able to remain sober.[122][120] During her testimony, the jury was shown multiple images of Heard with cuts and bruises that were allegedly a result of abuse from Depp and which she testified she would hide with make-up.[124][125]

Heard testified that during a weekend trip in 2013, Depp sexually assaulted her during a fight that had begun when he perceived that another woman was making a pass at her.[126] Heard accused Depp of ripping her dress and underwear before digitally penetrating her vagina, stating that she "didn't know what to do. [...] I just stood there."[121][122] In an incident on a private plane flight in 2014, Heard alleged that Depp accused her of having an affair with her co-star James Franco and then kicked her in the back, causing her to fall to the floor.[126][127] Heard testified that while the incident was witnessed by others onboard, no one intervened, and Depp soon locked himself in the plane's toilet and passed out.[127] The jury was shown a text message in which Depp states that he "will never do it again" and blamed his "illness," as well as a tape recording of Depp howling during the flight.[124] Heard also claimed that Depp slammed her against a wall and threatened to kill her after she attempted to comfort his daughter, who was distressed by his drinking during a visit to his yacht.[126][122] In another incident, she described Depp dangling her dog out of the window of a moving car.[121] Heard further testified that after the couple attended the Met Gala, that Depp "shoved me down on the sofa and at some point he just whacked me in the face. I suspected I had a broken nose. I remember it being swollen, discolored and red."[127] When she accompanied Depp to his private island, where he was to undergo detox, she testified that "he slapped me across the face."[127] Heard testified that she began attending Al-Anon in 2014.[127]

Heard testified that when they were married in early 2015, she had asked her lawyer to draw up a pre-nuptial agreement but that Depp had stated that "the only way out of this is death," and had fired the lawyer.[127][123][125] Heard further testified that in March 2015, Depp sexually assaulted her while they were staying in Australia, where he was filming the fifth installment of Pirates of the Caribbean.[128][127] According to Heard, the fight began when Depp, who had ingested ten tablets of MDMA, accused her of having affairs with her co-stars.[124] Heard testified that Depp threw bottles at her and hit her multiple times, before holding her by the neck and raping her with a glass liquor bottle "over and over again" while shouting "I fucking hate you, you ruined my fucking life."[124][127][129] Heard described being afraid to move as she feared that the bottle inside her was broken; she began to black out.[124][127][125] She also described cutting her arms and feet on the broken glass on the ground and that Depp had threatened to cut her face with a piece of glass, while holding it against her face.[129] She denied that she had injured Depp's finger, stating that she had taken a sedative and gone to sleep before it happened.[127] The court was shown photographs of the damage to the house.[125]

Testifying about a later March 2015 incident, Heard contradicted Travis McGivern's statement that she had thrown a Red Bull can at Depp, instead stating that Depp had thrown the can at her sister, who was trying to intervene.[127] Heard testified that she had punched Depp after he had tried to hit her sister. Heard also testified about an incident in December 2015, alleging that Depp was "pummeling her" and "pounding the back of my head with his fist" while screaming that he hated her. Heard stated that she "got really still," thinking that Depp was "going to kill [her] now and he won't even have realized it."[125] She also accused Depp of sexually assaulting her that Christmas.[125]

Week 5

After a week's break, Heard completed her testimony, which included several photographs and audio recordings.[130] She testified that by early 2016, Depp's substance abuse had escalated and that he began to experience hallucinations of people who were not there and accuse Heard of saying things she had not.[131][132][130] She testified that the violence was "now normal and not the exception" and feared that if she did not leave, she "wouldn't survive. [...] I believe he would have taken it too far and I wouldn't be here."[131] She testified that on her birthday in April 2016, she and Depp had a fight where they shoved each other before Depp threw a champagne bottle on a painting, "pushed me to the ground" and "grabbed me by the pubic area" before leaving.[133] She denied that she had anything to do with the feces in Depp's bed the following morning, instead stating that it was caused by their dog who had bowel control problems.[130] She claimed that Depp was obsessed with the idea that she was the culprit, and that it was what they had been discussing in May 2016, when she alleges the last violent incident took place.[132][130] She testified that Depp hit her, threw her phone at her face and grabbed her by the hair before her friend Raquel Pennington and Depp's security team intervened.[130] Heard explained that she did not cooperate with the police officers who were called because she wanted to protect Depp and did not want the abuse to become public.[131][132] Photos were shown to jurors, which appeared to show red marks and swelling on Heard's face;[132][131] the jury was also shown a text message from Depp where he appeared to apologize for the incident.[130]

Heard testified that she filed for a temporary restraining order because she wanted to change the locks to her home so that Depp would not be able to access it.[131][130] She explained in detail how she would use make-up and ice to her bruises and other injuries to hide them; she also stated that she always wears make-up when out in public.[131][132][133] Heard said she did not want Depp's money in the divorce; in a later re-direct, she testified that Depp had made $65 million in 2015, and that she would have been entitled to half of it under California law had she wanted it.[134][135] She said that she had pledged to donate the $7 million divorce settlement in installments, but that she had to stop paying them in 2019 due to Depp suing her, stating that she has had to spend more than $6 million in legal fees.[130]

Heard testified that since the abuse claims became public, she had lost out on roles and had to fight to stay in Aquaman (2018).[131] She denied that the op-ed was about Depp, but about her experiences after she filed for divorce.[131][132] Heard further testified that after Depp's lawyer, Adam Waldman, made claims about her being the abuser in 2020, her L'Oréal contract was halted and her promotional work for The Stand was canceled. She also stated that her scenes in Aquaman 2, which is to be released in 2023, have been significantly reduced and she has worked in only one other film since Waldman's accusations.[130][131][135]

Under cross-examination, Depp's lawyer questioned Heard about the lack of visible injuries in many photographs taken of her during the time she alleged that she had been abused.[130][136] Heard said this was because she had put on make-up and used ice to reduce the swelling.[130][132] She said that she had not sought medical care after her alleged rape in March 2015 because she did not want to tell anyone.[136] When asked about why she had not completed her donation yet despite claiming so publicly and having the money months before being sued by Depp, Heard maintained that she intends to after she is no longer being sued, and that she had used "donate" and "pledge" synonymously.[136][130][132] Depp's lawyer argued that Heard was not afraid of Depp because of things she said to him on audio and in love notes to him; Heard replied that "This is a man who tried to kill me [...] Of course it's scary. He's also my husband."[135] The jury was also shown a knife that Heard had gifted to Depp in 2012 as alleged evidence that she was not afraid of him.[134] Heard testified that she had given the knife during "the best of times" in their relationship when Depp had been sober and that she had therefore not been afraid.[134] She denied ever assaulting Depp, but testified that she sometimes had to physically defend herself.[135] She also stated that both she and Depp would verbally insult each other.[135][134] Depp's lawyer alleged that Heard had altered the photographs of her injuries from the May 2016 incident by changing the contrast; Heard denied this, saying that the change in light between two of them had to do with the light in the room where they were taken being turned on to better show her face.[134]

iO Tillett Wright, Heard's friend, testified in a video deposition that he had never seen Depp abuse Heard, but that Heard had told him about it.[137] Wright said that Depp had discussed his substance abuse with him and that jealousy had led him to drink and experience rage in his previous relationships.[137] Wright also testified that Depp could become dismissive of Heard when drunk or high, and that Depp had told Wright after marrying Heard that "I can punch her in the face and nobody can do anything about it."[137] Wright said he was no longer friendly with Depp after 2015.[137] He testified about the May 2016 incident, saying that he had been on the phone with Heard when he had heard a bang and Heard screaming, with Depp saying "You think I hit you?" Wright said that he hung up and called Heard's neighbor and then 911.[137]

Raquel Pennington, Heard's former friend who lived in one of Depp's penthouses in the Eastern Columbia Building, testified in a video deposition that she saw injuries on Heard on multiple occasions, and that Heard had to use make-up to cover them.[138] Pennington testified that she had seen the cuts to Heard's feet following her rape in Australia, and that she had taken images of injuries to Heard's face and scalp after the incident in December 2015. She said that in May 2016, when Heard alleges that Depp assaulted her for the last time, she intervened in their fight.[139] Pennington testified that she had heard yelling outside the apartment and upon entering, saw Depp yelling at Heard, who asked Pennington for help.[139] Pennington testified that she stood between them and sheltered Heard with her body, while Depp continued yelling at her and then destroyed some items in the apartment before his security arrived.[138] Pennington testified that the images taken of Heard that night accurately described how she looked then and had not been altered.[139] She stated that she had been worried about Heard's physical safety and that Depp may unintentionally hurt her worse than intended.[138]

Joshua Drew, who was Pennington's fiancé at the time, testified in a video deposition that in the aftermath of the May 2016 incident, Depp smashed a bottle against the door to their apartment and burst in, approaching Drew in an "aggressive" way, "screaming, cursing, spitting in my face."[140] Drew described Heard as "catatonic" and that she did not want to report the incident, asking Drew to talk to the police instead.[139]

Elizabeth Marz, Heard's acquintance who was visiting Pennington at the time of the incident in May 2016, testified in a video deposition that Depp had burst into Pennington's penthouse while yelling. He appeared intoxicated and frightened Marz.[141] She also stated that Heard was "visibly very upset" and that her face looked like it had been hit.[141]

Whitney Henriquez, Heard's younger sister, who testified in person, stated that she had witnessed a physical altercation between Depp and Heard in March 2015, after which she had been asked to sign a non-disclosure agreement.[142] She testified that the couple had started shouting "horrible things" at each other after Depp admitted to having an affair, and that Depp threw Red Bull can at Debbie Lloyd, his personal nurse. Henriquez said Depp had hit her in the back, prompting Heard to hit him, and that Depp had then grabbed Heard by the hair and started to repeatedly hit her before his security intervened.[142] Henriquez testified that Depp also destroyed items belonging to Heard in the adjoining penthouse.[142] Separately, Henriquez testified that Depp once held his and Heard's Yorkshire terrier out of the window of a moving car and threatened to microwave the dog; in another incident, he had thrown a steak knife at his assistant.[142] Henriquez said alcohol made Depp angry and abusive,[142] and that he would control what Heard could wear to public events.[143] Henriquez stated that she had seen bruises on Heard,[138] and that as the relationship progressed, Heard lost weight, became withdrawn and began to experience insomnia.[139][142] Under cross-examination, Depp's lawyer questioned Henriquez about taking cocaine with Depp and joking in a text to him about hitting Heard; Henriquez said that the text was "unfortunate" joking and that she was not aware of the situation at the time.[139]

Melanie Inglessis, Heard's former make-up artist and friend, testified in a video deposition how she had used make-up to hide Heard's injuries in December 2015 before her appearance at The Late Late Show with James Corden.[139][141][143] She described Heard having "discoloration under her eyes and on the bridge of her nose" and a split lip and that she was missing a clump of hair.[143]

Kristina Sexton, Heard's former acting coach and friend, testified in a video deposition that Depp was critical and demeaning of Heard's career choices, and that the couple's relationship was "very tension-filled" towards the end.[141] Sexton testified that during a 2013 weekend trip, when Heard alleges that Depp assaulted her, she witnessed a heated argument between the couple and that the next morning the couple's trailer was "completely torn apart."[143] Sexton denied seeing Depp act violently towards Heard, but on one occasion, "I saw him coming at her, and that's when the bodyguards stepped in." She further testified that Heard had lost a worrying amount of weight towards the end of the relationship, and had begun to miss sessions or turn up crying to them.[141][143]

Bruce Witkin, Depp's longtime friend and former band mate, testified in a video deposition that Depp had irrational jealousy in his relationships with women, including with Vanessa Paradis and Heard.[144] He said that he and most other people around Depp, including his sister Christi, had been worried about his substance abuse, but that Depp's employees generally did not dare to address the issue. Witkin testified that he had seen a bruise on Heard's arm when they were filming a documentary with Keith Richards in 2013; Heard has alleged that Depp had abused her before it. He also said he had seen Depp with "a fat lip" on one occasion.[144]

Tracey Jacobs, a UTA agent who represented Depp from the 1990s until 2016, testified that in the last ten years that she was his agent, she found it increasingly difficult to negotiate roles for him as he had gained a reputation for being late on film sets and for substance abuse.[145][146] She had referred Depp to David Kipper for substance abuse treatment.[146] Jacobs testified that by 2016, Depp was no longer "the biggest star in the world"; she also denied that there had been any negotiation for Pirates 6. Jacobs stated that in 2016, Depp had demanded $20 million from UTA, citing his long history with the agency; instead, Jacobs arranged for a bank loan for him.[145][146] She said that Depp had problems with anger, but that she had not personally witnessed him be violent towards a woman.[145] Jacobs stated that Depp's lawsuits have further damaged his career.[146]

Joel Mandel, Depp's former business manager, testified that Depp had significant problems with overspending and substance abuse.[145][146][147][144] He said that Depp's lifestyle had become increasingly expensive after the success of Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003), but that in the years before 2016, many of his films were unsuccessful. Mandel further testified that Depp had at one point been spending thousands of dollars a month on prescription drugs.[144]

Ellen Barkin, who had a brief sexual relationship with Depp and appeared with him in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998), testified in a pre-recorded deposition that Depp was a "jealous" and "controlling" man and that he was for most of the time either drunk or high.[145] She said that Depp once threw - "tossed" - a wine bottle at her when they were arguing, and had gotten "very, very angry" over a scratch on Barkin's back, insisting that she was cheating on him.[145]

Michele Mulroney, Heard's former lawyer, testified in a videotaped deposition that Heard had asked her to draw up a prenuptial agreement before the couple got married. Mulroney testified that the agreement was never made as Depp phoned her, insulting her verbally and firing her on Heard's behalf.[145]

Tina Newman, a production executive representing Disney, testified regarding discussions she and other executives, including Alan Horn and Alan Bergman, had about Depp's reputation.[145] She stated that they had discussed the negative coverage of Depp's personal life and behavior on the set of the fifth Pirates film in 2015 in emails.[145] Newman denied that Heard's op-ed had been mentioned in these discussions, or that it had any influence on Depp not being asked to return for a sixth Pirates film.[145]

Adam Waldman, Depp's lawyer whom Heard claims was instrumental in creating a smear campaign against her, testified that he had given the Daily Mail two audio recordings regarding the case and that he had communicated about the case with "internet journalists," such as a person responsible for the social media account "That Umbrella Guy."[145] Waldman told the Daily Mail in part: "Amber Heard and her friends in the media use fake sexual violence allegations as both a sword and shield, depending on their needs."[148] He otherwise answered few questions, citing attorney-client privilege.[145][148]

Jessica Kovacevic, Heard's former agent, testified in a video deposition that Heard's career suffered after Depp sued her in early 2019 and that his lawyer, Adam Waldman, began publicly accusing her of being a hoaxer and an abuser.[145][149] Kovacevic testified that after the success of Aquaman, released in December 2018, Heard would have been expected to land more roles and endorsements, but that none materialized.[149] Kovacevic further stated that she was not able to negotiate a higher fee for Heard in the sequel as usually would be done, and that Heard lost a film role.[149] Kovacevic stated that Heard had gotten good reviews with test audiences for Aquaman, and the only logical reason for Heard's career downturn, despite appearing in a box office hit, was the negative press and tweets accusing her of being a liar and an abuser.[145][149]

Ron Schnell, an expert witness on social media data analysis, testified in person that over 2 million negative tweets about Heard were sent in April 2020–January 31, 2021.[150] Waldman was referenced in 1 out of 4 of those and negative hashtags about Heard spiked following Waldman leaking audio files.[150]

Alan Blaustein, Depp's former psychiatrist, testified in a video deposition that Depp was "paranoid" and jealous, and that his relationship with Heard was "very chaotic" and he had a lot of anger towards her.[151] Depp also told him of "rage and chaos" in his relationship with Vanessa Paradis. Blaustein testified that Depp was addicted to marijuana, alcohol and opiates, and that Blaustein had observed them affecting Depp's memory. He said Depp had spoken to him about "fighting the devil," which he explained "was a representation of a battle with himself." Blaustein further testified that Depp spoke of his childhood abuse and about how Heard reminded him of his "psychotic sister" and mother.[151]

Reactions

The trial has drawn much attention from supporters of both Depp and Heard, as well as the general public.

Social media

The trial is livestreamed, with the comment section being compared by some reporters to a Twitch or VMA stream instead of a news channel.[152] Users in the stream chat have expressed opinions about the case or rallied against others doing the same, with similar comments and memes about those involved and the case seen on Twitter, TikTok, and Instagram.[153][154][155] Clips of the trial have been used to create memes as well as compilations or reaction videos, with multiple such videos going viral. Journalist Amelia Tait of The Guardian referred to the case as "trial by TikTok" and stated that on social media, the case has become "a source of comedy."[156] This was also noted by other journalists.[157][154][153][158][159] Several media outlets have noted that those posting about the trial on social media seem to mostly support Depp.[153][157][152][155][160][158] According to Sunny Hundal of The Independent, most of these images and videos portrayed Depp as "smiling, happy or making other people laugh," whereas "Heard is always pictured as angry or crying."[158] One video, a supercut of Heard's lawyer's repeated objections to Depp's testimony has gathered 30 million views on TikTok, and 15 million views on YouTube as of April 29, 2022.[161][162] Other viral TikTok trends have included videos where users act out Heard's testimony, or make "aroused facial expressions" over her testimony of sexual abuse.[156][158] Several claims about Heard have also been disseminated through social media, including claims that Heard was "acting" during her testimony by passing off movie quotes as her own thoughts,[163] that she was using cocaine on the stand,[156] or that she was copying Depp's clothing choices.[153]

A review by Newsweek in 2016 of tweets that used the actors' names and were liked at least 100 times found about thirty-eight tweets that met the criteria and backed one of those involved. Since April 19, 2022, a similar study found that at least 509 tweets had been posted and met the criteria of the 2016 study, with a majority giving support to Depp.[164][165] BuzzFeed News reported, that between April 25 and April 29, 2022, there were 1,667 posts uploaded to Facebook using the hashtag #JusticeForJohnnyDepp, with over 7 million total interactions, i.e. likes and shares between them. Meanwhile, Heard comparatively only had 16 posts in support, with 10,415 interactions. Additionally, on TikTok, videos tagged with #JusticeForAmberHeard have over 21 million combined views, while videos tagged with #JusticeForJohnnyDepp have over 5 billion combined views as of April 29.[153]

Data collected by Newswhip from April 4 to May 16, 2022 indicated that news articles about the trial had generated more social media interactions per article in the United States compared all other significant news topics, including the leaked Supreme Court draft opinion on abortion, the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, inflation, or Elon Musk.[166] Data from SimilarWeb showed that entertainment news websites such as People, Us Weekly, and the New York Post saw traffic increases of between 9-22% for the month of April 2022 compared to April 2021, as a result of the trial.[166] Law&Crime, which broadcast the trial, had a 50x increase in daily viewership on their app compared to before the trial; the president of the Law&Crime network, Rachel Stockman, stated that the consumption of coverage of the Depp-Heard trial were significantly higher than that of the trial of Derek Chauvin in June 2021.[166] From the above, Axios concluded that the Depp-Heard trial "stands out as the first major trial to go viral in the TikTok era."[166]

Camille Vasquez

Throughout the trial, many have focused their attention on Johnny Depp's legal team, particuarly Camille Vasquez.[167] On day 16 of the trial, Vasquez cross-examined Heard, with at least one video of the cross-examination going viral. A TikTok video, which shows Heard responding to a comment made by Vasquez to the court, as if it were a question, when no question had yet been asked, received over 1.2 million views and 109,000 likes, as of May 22. Many of the comments under the video are from users praising Vasquez, and her articulation and legal understanding.[168]

After her cross-examination of Heard, Vasquez hugged Depp.[169] On 18 May, a reporter from Splash News attempted to question Vasquez about rumors of her and Depp dating, with the reporter claiming that the rumors were all over the Internet, with Vasquez laughing off the comment. It was later posted to TMZ.[170] Sources "connected to Camille Vasquez" expressed that the pair are "definitely not dating."[169]

Fans have created fan pages on TikTok and Instagram, with some garnering tens of thousands of followers. On TikTok, the hashtag #Camillevasquez has over 944 million views.[169]

Companies

Companies have also involved themselves in the social media discussions about the trial. During the opening statements, one of Heard's attorneys held up a compact concealer makeup palette, stating: "This is what Amber carried in her purse for the entire relationship with Johnny Depp. This was what she used. She became very adept in it," appearing to be holding Milani Cosmetics' Conceal + Perfect All-in-One Correcting Kit palette, though the wording may be interpreted as relating to a generic example of a compact.[171] Following this, Milani Cosmetics posted a video on TikTok that stated that Heard could not have used their specific product to cover any alleged bruises during her relationship with Depp as it had not been released until the December of 2017 — 11 months after the couple's divorce.[172] Sellers on internet market places such as Redbubble and Etsy have also began selling merchandise related to the trial, such as t-shirts and mugs with the slogan "Justice for Johnny."[156][173]

Court spectators

A woman was removed from the court room on May 23 after she stood up and yelled to Depp: "This baby is yours!" and claimed to be his soulmate. A court spectator had previously removed himself after being unable to control his laughter during the trial.[174]

Notes

  1. ^ Victoria Newton was The Sun's editor-in-chief while Dan Wootton served as Executive Editor.

References

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