Johnny Depp admitted on Wednesday that Disney was already hesitant to work with him before ex-wife Amber Heard wrote an op-ed alluding to his abuse allegations in December 2018 as his cross-examination began in a movie theater. Virginia hearing.
Depp accused Heard of ruining his career by publishing the article. He is suing her for $50 million, alleging that her claims were fabricated and that she was the one who beat him. When questioned by his own attorney, Depp said Disney pulled him from the sixth installment of “Pirates of the Caribbean” days after the article was published. The film has not been produced and is currently in “suspended mode”, he testified.
But during cross-examination, Heard’s lawyer, Ben Rottenborn, asked about an October 2018 Daily Mail article, which reported that Depp was “as Jack Sparrow”.
“I wasn’t aware of that, but it doesn’t surprise me,” Depp said. “Two years had passed without the world constantly talking about me as being this woman beater. So I’m sure Disney was trying to cut ties to be safe. The #MeToo movement was in full swing at that time.
Heard first accused Depp of domestic violence when she filed for a restraining order in 2016. Those claims were resolved when the couple’s divorce was settled a few months later, and he and Heard released a joint statement which included the line that “neither party made false accusations for financial gain.
Depp said the lawyers drafted the statement and he wanted to fight the allegations because “there wasn’t a molecule of truth in it.” But in the end, he agreed to pay her $7 million – which she promised to donate to charity – to resolve the divorce.
“The advice I was given was not to fight it,” he testified. “I didn’t have many choices.”
Depp’s lawsuit alleges he suffered career-ending harm when Heard revived the claims in the Washington Post article, which alluded to Depp but did not identify him by name. To win, he will have to show that the damage stems from the 2018 piece and not from the previous allegations. Depp argued that the play had an effect.
“I would be a complete idiot not to think that there was an effect on my career based on the comments of Ms. Heard, whether they mentioned my name or not,” he added.
But he also said his career was “over” from “the second the charges were brought against me”.
“Once that happened, I lost then,” he said. “No matter what the outcome of this lawsuit, I will wear this for the rest of my life…I am suing her for defamation and the various falsehoods she used to end my life.”
Depp testified that even after Disney considered removing him from “Pirates 6,” the company was still featuring his character at theme parks around the world.
“They didn’t take my character off the rides,” he said. “They kept selling Captain Jack Sparrow dolls. They haven’t stopped selling anything. They just didn’t want there to be anything behind me that they would find.
Rottenborn also referenced something Depp had said in his deposition, in which he indicated he wouldn’t want to work on “Pirates 6” if it was offered to him.
“The fact is, Mr. Depp, if Disney came at you with $300 million and a million alpacas, wouldn’t there be anything in the world that would make you go back and work with Disney on a ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ movie? To correct?”
Depp replied, “That’s right, Mr. Rottenborn.”
Depp spoke on Tuesday, the fifth day of the trial. His attorney, Jessica Meyers, led him through several hours of testimony in which he recounted fights with Heard, including an episode in which his right middle finger was severed. Depp alleged that Heard repeatedly attacked and berated him, and that he usually hid by locking himself in a bedroom or bathroom. He denied becoming violent with Heard.
Meyers concluded his direct examination of Depp on Wednesday afternoon.
Rottenborn’s cross-examination will continue on Thursday. Heard will speak later in the trial, which is expected to last about six weeks. In an earlier trial in the UK, a judge dismissed Depp’s libel claim against The Sun newspaper, finding Heard’s abuse allegations to be “essentially true”.