Johnny Depp got a big win in his highly publicized and antic-filled defamation trial with ex-wife Amber Heard. At the center of the six-week trial was a 2018 op-ed written by the actress and published in The Washington Post, and since a jury found Heard guilty on three counts of defamation — awarding Depp $15 million in the process — the media site has added a long Editor’s Note to the original opinion piece, giving necessary context to future readers.
Over the course of six weeks, a jury was tasked with deciding if Amber Heard’s article, titled “I spoke up against sexual violence — and faced our culture’s wrath. That has to change,” implied or insinuated anything about her former husband and whether her statements were false or written with intention of malice. Upon finding Heard guilty, The Washington Post added a lengthy addendum to the online version of the article, quoting the passages that were found defamatory:
During the trial, which was followed closely by fans who were able to watch the proceedings on TV, public opinion leaned heavily in favor of Johnny Depp. Though Depp was not specifically mentioned in the op-ed piece, Depp’s lawyers insisted their client was implicated as an abuser, and a jury unanimously agreed. He was awarded $10 million compensatory damages and an additional $5 million in punitive damages. Given Virginia law, where the case was set, that was shifted down to a little over $10.3 million in total, as punitive damages are capped at $350,000.
Amber Heard gained a small victory in the $2 million in compensatory damages she was awarded, however, the fight isn’t over for the Aquaman 2 actress, as her attorney Elaine Bredehoft says she plans to appeal. Bredehoft said her client was “demonized,” and there were a number of things that shouldn’t have been allowed to happen during the trial. She also claimed the general online response gave Johnny Depp an unfair advantage, despite jurors’ instructions to not read about or discuss the case outside the courtroom.
The Pirates of the Caribbean actor, meanwhile, released a response to the verdict, saying the “jury gave me my life back.” Johnny Depp said ”false, very serious and criminal allegations were levied at me via the media” six years ago, and said he was “truly humbled” by the court’s decision. The actor said he feels at peace at the accomplishment of revealing the truth.
Johnny Depp previously lost his role as Gellert Grindelwald in the Fantastic Beasts franchise when he lost a similar libel cast in the UK. Now with a petition to have Amber Heard removed from Aquaman 2 picking up steam, it will be interesting to see if and how the recent jury findings affect the actors’ upcoming movies.