A protest storm erupted yesterday over Johnny Depp’s defamation victory as ex-wife Amber Heard announced plans to appeal.
Critics criticized the shock ruling that she maliciously slandered him by alleging abuse and said it marked the death of the MeToo movement.
The decision of the American court to award him compensation in the amount of 8.3 million pounds came two years after the British court found him responsible for the beating of his wife.
At the time of the sentencing in Fairfax, Virginia, the Pirates of the Caribbean star was in the UK drinking Newcastle Brown Ale at a party.
He was in a pub on the Newcastle waterfront with singer Geordie Sam Fender and guitar legend Jeff Beck. Depp shook hands with fans and took pictures.
But he was quickly overwhelmed by the storm that followed his victory in court.
American celebrities have spoken out against the decision, while entertainment experts have warned that the horrifying revelations in court will harm his future career prospects.
A series of horrific messages were read from Depp to a buddy, including one that said, “Let’s burn Amber.”
In another, he said he would like to see her “rotting corpse decompose”.
Comedian Amy Schumer reacted to the verdict by sharing the quote: “Any woman who chooses to act like a complete human being should be warned that the armies of the status quo will treat her like something of a dirty joke.”
Former US talk show host Megan McCain wrote: “#MeToo is dead.”
Campaigners in the UK also criticized the decision.
Barrister Charlotte Proudman said: “The MeToo movement is dead and buried, it is no more.
“MeToo was about women having a voice. Women are now being told that they cannot talk about the alleged abuse they may have experienced, let alone the name of the perpetrator.
“This case sends a signal to victims of domestic violence that if you go to court, your mental health will be affected. You will be blamed.”
Depp, 58, filed the case after accusing Heard, 36, of defaming him in a 2018 article for The Washington Post.
The Aquaman actress described herself in the article as a victim of domestic violence, although she did not name Depp.
But his lawyers have said that this falsely implies that he physically and sexually abused her when they were together.
After a six-week trial, the jury awarded Depp £12 million in damages, which the judge reduced to £8.3 million on technical grounds.
Heard countersued and received £1.5 million in damages for one of her three claims after his lawyer accused her of a hoax over her allegations of abuse.
In 2020, Depp lost a libel case against Kristen Bell Tattoos after a judge ruled we were right to call it wife beating.
Hurd said after the final decision: “The frustration I feel is beyond words. I am even more disappointed with what this verdict means for other women.
“It brings back time when a woman who spoke and spoke could be publicly humiliated. It casts aside the notion that violence against women should be taken seriously.”
Her lawyer, Elaine Bredehof, said she plans to appeal.
Depp said after the case, “The jury gave me back my life.”
He was believed to have stayed at the Newcastle Gateshead Hilton yesterday before his performance at The Sage with Beck yesterday.
He has already played with the former Yardbirds guitarist on his UK tour in Sheffield and at the Royal Albert Hall in London. He will also take part in the rest of the tour in Glasgow, Manchester, Birmingham and York.
Fans were stunned when they ran into him in a pub in Newcastle shortly before his sentencing in America on Wednesday night.
He ordered fish and chips from the Bridge Tavern and washed it down with Newcastle brown ale and Guinness.
Trainee assistant manager Naomi Holliday, 22, said: “I was on the day shift, it was a normal day, and he just tumbled in.
“He went through the front door and sat down on a table in the corner. He drank brown ale and ate. He was asking about Newcastle because he had never been there before and he was interested in the Tyne Bridge and the pub.
“There was no mention of a trial. We’re Geordies, so we like to be casual. Sam Fender came in a couple of hours after that, which was crazy. We’ll probably never have that kind of change again.”
Depp won the case by hiring a powerful team of top-notch lawyers.
Among them was Kathleen Zellner, whom he personally called after seeing her lead role in the Netflix series The Making of a Killer.
Despite his legal victory, entertainment experts believe he can still be an underdog when it comes to work.
They believe the rubbish from the couple’s tumultuous 15-month marriage could hurt their future career prospects.
Former entertainment industry lawyer Matthew Belloni said, “Both will work again, but I think it will be some time before a major studio deems them ‘safe enough’ to bet on.”
Los Angeles head of public relations Eric Rose added: “It’s getting harder for studios to hire any actor right now because you’re potentially alienating a lot of your audience who might not like the fact that you kept either Johnny or Amber because that the feelings are so strong. currently.”
Hurd’s lawyer Elaine Bredehof said the star has “excellent grounds” for appealing.
Asked if Hurd could afford to pay off the money she now owes Depp, Bredehoft replied, “Oh, absolutely not.”
She added that the case was “a tale of two lawsuits” after Kristen Bell Tattoos won in 2020 and added: [UK] the court found – we were not allowed to tell the jury – that he had committed 12 acts of domestic violence, including sexual assault.
“What did the Depp team take away from this? Demonize Ember and hide the evidence. We had a huge amount of evidence that was hidden in this case, which was in the UK case.”
WHAT’S NEXT FOR AMBER
For Amber Heard to save her reputation, she needs to lay low, like so many stars before her, says celebrity PR guru Ed Hopkins.
He said: “The public is generally indulgent, but they need a lot of time.
“They often return, look at Winona Ryder, Nicole Richie and even Michael Jackson, who made a triumphant return after PR incidents.”
But memes from the trial saw Amber as the butt of jokes.
Ed said: “There is no point in sugarcoating this, this is a full blown crisis for her and her team who will be trying to decide what to do next.”
A Change.org petition calling for Amber to be removed from Aquaman 2 has already garnered over 4.5 million signatures.
Nick said, “She literally doesn’t have the star power anymore – and the public doesn’t support her.
“If the public does not support you, the studio will understand that you are no longer a box office, you will not have loafers in the field.”
And, according to Nick, the only way back for her is to do charity work.
WHAT’S NEXT FOR JOHNNY
JOHNNY looks set to benefit from the huge fan support he saw during the trial.
PR expert Nick Ede believes autobiography, candid American television interviews and sponsorship deals are all on the cards.
He said: “His value as a star will grow.”
Depp’s perfume deal with Dior could also get support.
Nick said, “People will come out in solidarity and buy a fragrance even if they don’t like the smell.”
He will also release an album with musician Beck and plans to make arthouse films.
But it’s unclear if the Disney’s Pirates franchise will bring him back.
However, Nick said that Depp must first address some of the disturbing evidence from the six-week trial.
One message to actor buddy Paul Bettany read: “Let’s burn Amber!!!”
Nick said that his advice to Depp would be: “You should apologize for what was said.”