What are the reasons why Disney canceled the contract with Johnny Depp?
Johnny Depp claims that ex-wife Amber Heard’s allegations that he was physically abusive cost him his star role as Jack Sparrow but her lawyer disagrees.
Johnny Depp was cross-examined by lawyers representing his ex-wife Amber Heard in a mutual defamation lawsuit. He is suing her for $50 million claiming that a 2018 opinion article she wrote in the Washington Post resulted days later in Disney dropping him from the sixth installment of the “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise.
However, in the hearings on Wednesday her lawyer pointed to an article published weeks prior that Disney had already made the decision. Heard is countersuing claiming Depp’s accusations have smeared her and she is seeking $100 million in damages.
Mutual accusations of physical assualts
The two celebrities, who were married for 18 months, had a tumultuous relationship that ended with their divorce in 2016. That settlement granted Heard a restraining order against Depp, alleging that he had assaulted and abused her throughout their relationship. Depp counters that in reality, it was Heard who was physically abusive, with one instance ending with Depp having the tip of one of his fingers cut off.
As part of finalizing the divorce, lawyers crafted the statement from both saying “neither party has made false accusations.” Depp said that he had wanted to fight the allegations made by Heard, but he testified that he was advised against it and that he “wasn’t given much of a choice.”
On the stand he said the allegations at the time “were rapidly circling the globe, telling people I was a drunken, cocaine-fueled menace who beat women.” Adding “I lost then. No matter the outcome of this trial.”
Disney dropped Depp days after Heard’s survivor of domestic abuse article
In Depp’s libel lawsuit against his ex-wife he claims that an op-ed article she published in the Washington Post in December 2018 led to Disney deciding to drop him from the sixth installment of “Pirates of the Caribbean” film franchise. According to his testimony, days after the article was released Disney informed him of their decision, but Heard’s attorney, Ben Rottenborn suggested that wasn’t the case.
He pointed to an article published in the Daily Mail two months prior confirming that the decision had already been made. In the article Stuart Beattie, the original writer of “Pirates of the Caribbean” nodded when asked about rumors that Disney would be removing the Captain Sparrow character from the studio’s reworking of the franchise. “I think he’s had a great run,” Beattie said.
Depp told Rottenborn that he had no knowledge of the article, but that it didn’t surprise him. “Two years had gone by of constant worldwide talk about me being this wife beater,” he testified. “I’m sure that Disney was trying to cut ties to be safe. The #MeToo movement was in full swing at that point.”
The fallout from the allegations have cost him “nothing less than everything,” according to Depp. Warner Bros cut his part in the “Fantastic Beasts” film franchise, a “Harry Potter” spinoff after he lost a libel suit against The Sun in 2020. The British tabloid had labeled him a “wife beater” but a London High Court judge ruled in that case Depp had repeatedly assaulted Heard.
The court will hear Heard’s side of the story in coming weeks
The dual libel lawsuits are being heard by a state court judge in Fairfax County, Virginia. The trial, which is expected to last six weeks, is in its second week. Heard will present her story later in the trail and argue that she is entitled to damages for Depp saying that her allegations of physical abuse at his hands are a fabrication.
Other celebrity witnesses will be called to the stand to testify like Heard’s ex-boyfriend and Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk and actor James Franco. Both have been called to testify on behalf of Depp to prove that they had a relationship with Heard while she was still married. CCTV video of her meeting the two suitors during her relationship with Depp has emerged.