The London libel suit doesn’t go in Depp’s favor

By Pryce Jamison
December 9, 2020

Johnny Depp has lost the libel suit he filed against The Sun newspaper in London. The lawsuit arose from the 2018 article the paper released calling him a “wife beater,” referring to the relationship with his ex-wife, Amber Heard. As the two actors have accused each other of abuse throughout their relationship for years, their private lives and darkest moments have shown to be much more exposed to the eyes of the media.

The erratic bond can be traced all the way back to 2012, where the two began dating after Depp and his long-time partner, Vanessa Paradis, separated after 14 years. They were fully in the public eye by 2014 when a photo of Heard’s engagement ring created buzz across Twitter, and was confirmed by Depp in a video interview with The Daily Mail. 

After a year of marriage, Heard filed for divorce in May 2016 stating that Depp physically abused her while under the influence of alcohol, while naming the accident of him throwing his phone at her which left her face bruised. Depp and his team denied the allegations and said Heard is no victim in this situation, stating that Heard was “attempting to secure a premature financial resolution by alleging abuse.” 

“On May 21, 2016, officers responded to a domestic incident radio call,” LAPD Sgt. Marlon Marrache said. “The person reporting the crime [Heard] did not insist on a report and no report was warranted. There was no evidence of any crime.” 

“Our relationship was intensely passionate and at times volatile, but always bound by love. Neither party has made false accusations for financial gain,” Depp and Heard said in a joint statement. “There was never any intent of physical or emotional harm.” Heard received $7 million from the divorce settlement and withdrew her request for a domestic violence restraining order, while donating the money to charity in the end.

Heard posting pictures of fan support amid the trials. Photo from her Instagram.

When the media thought things were settled in the short, destructive marriage, lawsuits from Depp began in 2019 after Heard wrote a op-ed for The Washington Post, speaking on the treatment of women in domestic abuse cases. She spoke on how she has became a public figure representing domestic abuse, feeling the full force of our culture’s wrath for women who speak out.”

In Depp’s suit for $50 million for defamation, him and his lawyers stated that in her piece, she stated that she is solely the victim when she was indeed the perpetrator of all of the violent altercations. By her doing this, they believed it was an elaborate hoax to help generate positive publicity around her time during all of the accusations made on one another. Phone recordings released in early 2020, helped give this claim some weight, as she admitted to hitting Depp and didn’t deny the fact that she started these altercations. Depp spoke on how they both were in the wrong, and that he would prefer to handle this matter peacefully between them two instead of publicly, because the slander on both of their names would only get worse no matter how much Heard tried to justify that her attacks couldn’t hurt him like he’s capable of hurting her, even when she supposedly attacked him at times during heated exchanges.

Depp’s role of the antagonist, Grindelwald, in the Fantastic Beasts films that he won’t reprise. Photo from Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.

“I’ve grown up watching this man in various roles, but we have to understand that even our favorite celebrities go through dysfunctional relationships in which things can be taken to the extreme,” Naiser Warren-Robinson, sophomore president of BSU, said. Despite all that has occurred over the past few years and the times where they both were in a negative light, The Sun has continuously sided with Heard throughout this recent libel process, and feels that victims of domestic abuse shouldn’t be silenced and the actions of Depp shouldn’t be justified.

After the court ruled against Depp on Nov. 2, he announced that he was asked to resign from his role as Grindelwald in the Fantastic Beasts franchise. Two of his past partners, Vanessa Paradis and Winona Ryder also spoke up defending Depp, saying how all of the accusations and negativity around his name are far from the Johnny they know, and how there wasn’t a moment where they were physically abused. After all that we’ve seen from this Johnny Depp and Amber Heard feud over the past few years, there hasn’t been an indicator of things going uphill between them soon.

Whatever has truly happened between them behind closed doors is a symbol of just how important of a subject domestic violence is to touch on, regardless of fame and success.

Pryce Jamison

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