On June 2, the jury in the Johnny Depp/Amber Heard defamation lawsuit came back with their decision. The jury decided that both sides had defamed each other, but Amber Heard had defamed Johnny Depp more. They awarded Heard $2 million in damages out of her requested $100 million. On the other side, they awarded Depp a total of $15 million — which was changed to $10.35 million due to Virginia law.
At the center of Depp’s lawsuit was a 2018 OpEd Heard and the ACLU — the American Civil Liberties Union — wrote that was published in The Washington Post. In the OpEd, Heard claimed that she was a survivor of domestic violence. While Heard never outright said that Depp was the one who abused her, the years that she claimed she suffered from abuse were years that she was married to Depp.
Depp claimed that he never abused her and that, when The Washington Post published the article, his career and reputation took a massive hit, and he lost work. After the OpEd was published, Depp was dropped by WarnerBros. from the Fantastic Beasts franchise, and talks of him appearing in Pirates of the Caribbean 6 ended — which Depp claims cost him $22 million.
On the heels of Depp being successful in his suit against Heard, The Washington Post has added an Editor’s Note to the original article. The Post does not admit to any wrongdoing. The Editor’s Note says the following:
Editor’s Note, June 2, 2022: In 2019, Johnny Depp sued Amber Heard for defamation arising out of this 2018 op-ed. On June 1, 2022, following a trial in Fairfax County, Va Circuit Court, a jury found Heard liable on three counts for the following statements, which Depp claimed were false and defamatory: (1) “I spoke up against sexual violence – and faced our culture’s wrath. That has to change.” (2) “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.” (3) “I had the rare vantage point of seeing, in real time, how institutions protect men accused of abuse.” The jury separately found that Depp, through his lawyer Adam Waldman, defamed Heard in one of three counts in her countersuit.
After the jury came back with its decision, both Heard and Depp released statements. Heard and her attorneys said that the ruling was a setback for all women, who would now be scared to come forward and report their own stories of domestic abuse. Depp and his team said that Depp was truly humbled by the decision and that the “truth never perishes.” Heard’s team has also said that she has no way to pay the judgment and that they will be appealing the jury’s decision in the near future.
Heard was in the courtroom when the jury read its decision, but Depp was in the UK, teaming up with his musician friends and surprising fans by performing at local venues. Just before the verdict was announced, the ACLU — who had worked with Heard on the OpEd — announced that they were suing Depp for fees incurred during the lawsuit.