Johnny Depp’s agent has said that Amber Heard’s op-ed was “catastrophic” for Mr Depp’s career.
The defamation trial between Mr Depp and Ms Heard began on Monday 11 April in Fairfax, Virginia following Mr Depp’s lawsuit against his ex-wife in March 2019. Mr Depp is arguing that she defamed him in a December 2018 op-ed published in The Washington Post titled “I spoke up against sexual violence — and faced our culture’s wrath. That has to change”.
In her 2018 op-ed, Ms Heard wrote that “like many women, I had been harassed and sexually assaulted by the time I was of college age. But I kept quiet — I did not expect filing complaints to bring justice. And I didn’t see myself as a victim”.
“Then 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,” she added at the time.
While Mr Depp isn’t named in the piece, his legal team argues that it contains a “clear implication that Mr Depp is a domestic abuser”, which they say is “categorically and demonstrably false”. Mr Depp is seeking damages of “not less than $50m”.
Ms Heard has filed a $100m counterclaim against Mr Depp for nuisance and immunity from his allegations.
Entertainment manager and agent Jack Wrigham testified via video link from Los Angeles that Ms Heard’s op-ed was different from other articles that had been written about Mr Depp in that it was a first-person account. He said it was “impactful” and “catastrophic” for him.
The court heard that from the publication of the op-ed on 18 December 2018 until October 2020, Mr Depp didn’t appear in any studio movies.
Mr Whigam said Mr Depp’s pay was reduced to “save the movie” Minamata, an independent film. He added that “it became clear” in early 2019 that Disney was “going in a different direction” in terms of the sixth Pirates of the Caribbean film.
He said he became award of a “Pirates project” that Margot Robbie was set to appear in. After that, Mr Wrigham said he contacted Pirates producer Jerry Bruckheimer and Sean Bailey at Disney “a lot”.
“I successfully made contact with them but I was not successful in rescuing Pirates for Johnny,” he said, adding that it was “impossible” to get Mr Depp into a studio film after the op-ed was published.
Mr Wrigham was then asked by Heard lawyer Elaine Bredehoft about his earlier comments that a deal had been reached for Mr Depp to appear as Captain Jack Sparrow in the sixth Pirates film. Ms Bredehoft asked why there are no documents to back this up.
The agent said he had worked on many agreements that were “verbal in nature” and that the conversations concerning the sixth film in the franchise were “consistent with a lot of the conversations I would have on behalf of big stars”.