Depp’s agent calls Heard opinion on abuse ‘catastrophic’ for actor’s career

DISCLAIMER: This story contains details about domestic abuse.

Johnny Depp’s agent testified on Monday that his ex-wife’s 2018 op-ed in the Washington Post describing herself as a victim of domestic violence was “catastrophic” for his career and coincided with the loss of a 23-year contract. million US dollars for a Pirates of the Caribbean after.

Amber Heard’s lawyers aggressively pushed back against the agent’s claim during cross-examination, suggesting the article was inconsequential amid a barrage of bad publicity for Depp sparked by his own bad behavior.

Depp is suing Heard for defamation in Fairfax County Circuit Court, claiming her article defamed him when she described herself as “a public figure representing domestic violence.” The article never mentions Depp by name, but Depp’s lawyers say it was defamed nonetheless because it is a clear reference to the abuse allegations heard in 2016.

In testimony on Monday, agent Jack Whigham said Depp was still able to work after allegations were first brought against him in 2016. He was paid $8 million for city ​​of lies$10 million for Murder on the Orient Express and $13.5 million for Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwaldall of whom filmed in 2017, albeit under contracts made before the allegations against him.

But he said the Washington Post article was particularly damaging to Depp’s career.

Heard speaks to his lawyers in the courtroom on April 25. (Steve Helber/Pool/Associated Press)

“It was a first-person, extremely impactful narrative,” Whigham said of the op-ed.

After that, he said Depp struggled to get any kind of work. He had to take a pay cut – up to $3 million – to do the independent film Minimaland a $22.5 million oral deal he had with Disney for a sixth pirate the film was scuttled, Whigham said.

On cross-examination, however, Heard’s attorneys asked if the pirate the deal had already gone south by the time Heard’s article was published. Whigham admitted he never had a written agreement for Depp to appear in a sixth pirate film.

And while he was saying pirate While producer Jerry Bruckheimer spoke favorably throughout 2018 of Depp’s return to the franchise, Disney execs were evasive at best.

In early 2019 – weeks after Heard’s op-ed – Whigham said it was clear Depp’s role in everything pirate the film was scuttled and the producers were instead looking to move forward with Margot Robbie in a lead role.

Heard’s lawyers cited a variety of factors – including reports of heavy drug and alcohol use, a lawsuit filed by a crew member in July 2018 that says he was punched on set by Depp and a separate libel suit Depp filed against a British newspaper in 2018 — like things that damaged Depp’s image more than the Post article.

For Depp’s trial in Virginia to succeed, it must not only show that he was falsely accused, but it must also show that the opinion piece — not Heard’s 2016 abuse allegations when she was filed for divorce and got a temporary restraining order – is what caused the damage.

Depp’s lawyers also presented testimony from an intellectual property expert who testified about the negative turn on Depp’s reputation. But his own data, showing trend lines from Google searches, showed negative spikes after the 2016 abuse allegations, but negligible or no changes after the Post article.

The trial has now entered its fourth week. Much of the testimony in the first three weeks centered on the volatile relationship between Depp and Heard. Depp says he never hit Heard. Her attorneys said in opening statements at the trial that she was physically and sexually assaulted by Depp on multiple occasions.

Heard is expected to testify later this week.

Support is available for anyone who has been abused or assaulted. You can access crisis lines and local support services through the Canadian Association for the Elimination of Violence Database. The Canadian Women’s Foundation Help signal is a silent one-handed gesture to use during a video call to indicate that you are at risk of violence in the home. If you are in immediate danger or fear for your safety or the safety of those around you, please call 911.