Johnny Depp plans to appeal the British court’s judgment in his libel case

Actor Johnny Depp spotted at the High Court in London.

On Monday, Johnny Depp lost his libel case against The Sun. The British publication had referred to him as a wife beater, and now by losing this lawsuit, Depp is officially a “wife beater” in the eyes of the law. The judge found ample evidence that he was/is an abuser and that he violently assaulted Amber Heard before they married and during their marriage. As I’ve said many times, it felt like his lawsuits – this libel case in the UK, and his lawsuit against Heard in America – are an extension of his abuse. He’s still abusing her by dominating her time and finances, by forcing her to hire a legal team to defend herself from his claims, and by trying to ruin her reputation professionally and personally.

Anyway, Depp’s lawyers are now saying that they’ll appeal the judgment, even when the judge took pains to cite twelve individual incidents where Depp had abused Heard. By saying he’ll appeal, it just seems like Depp is the last person to understand that he’s pretty much finished. The Guardian and other outlets ran pieces with headlines like “Johnny Depp destroys what’s left of his reputation” and “Hollywood assumptions overturned by Johnny Depp’s court defeat.” Some highlights from this excellent Guardian piece:

Johnny Depp, Wife Beater: The curtain has fallen on the London act of the courtroom drama starring Johnny Depp and Amber Heard – with a final twist that has surprised many in the industry. The widely-held assumption across Hollywood had been that Depp would not have mounted the case were he not convinced of victory. Simply by instigating proceedings, the theory ran that Depp was boosting a stock that was in decline. “He had no choice but to defend himself,” says Steven Gaydos, executive editor of Variety. “He was correct in his assessment of the potential damage that the phrase ‘wife-beater’ would have done to his future.”

Depp didn’t have a plan beyond suing for libel: “Depp seems to have spent the past 10 years lurching about, teams of people chasing behind him,” says Gaydos. The more humbling images the trial brought to light – Depp collapsed over ice-cream, missing a bit of his finger, finding faeces in his bed – potentially lent a new, pitiable aspect. Says one veteran entertainment publicist: “Thirty years ago, he’d have hated to be seen as a humiliated victim. Pushing 60, it sort of serves him.”

What happens to his Fantastic Beasts role: In late September, Warner Bros resumed production on the third instalment of the Harry Potter spin-off, after filming was halted in March due to the pandemic. Despite a substantial drop in US box office takings between the first two instalments, and some negative press surrounding creator JK Rowling as well as Depp, the studio is likely to proceed with the film. Depp’s scenes in the film, whose release is still set for the end of next year, are not due to be filmed until the new year, and whether he remains part of the cast following Monday’s ruling is likely to be primarily down to Rowling’s discretion. Three years ago she defended him publicly, writing a statement in support of his continued role in the franchise despite the unfolding allegations.

JK Rowling still stands with Depp? Rowling’s agent, Neil Blair, attended the hearing alongside Depp’s lawyers in what many interpreted as a show of solidarity. Shortly before the trial, in response to criticism of her public comments on transgender issues, Rowling published a statement in which she said she was a survivor of domestic and sexual violence in her first marriage; a claim her former husband denies.

What the verdict means for Amber Heard: “A lot of the coverage reminded me of an earlier time,” says Gaydos. “Heard was blamed for a lot of the abuse. There was so much scepticism around her story and this sense she brought it on herself as a strong-willed, attractive woman.” That sentiment is echoed by Mariana Dahan, who runs World Identity Network, an NGO foundation championing the rights of undocumented migrants for which Heard has acted as an ambassador. “Power flows downward,” she said, “which is why the outcome of the lawsuit Depp filed against her is so important – and will send a message to women around the world about the extent their voices matter. For the vast majority of women, Amber is an ambassador on women’s rights; standing with survivors as male-dominated cultural institutions discredit those who speak out against accused abusers.”

[From The Guardian]

Dahan, who is quoted above, also said that the women who failed to publicly show sympathy (or even the benefit of the doubt) to Amber came out looking especially bad. I like how they framed it as sort of a retro, pre-Me Too style of attack on Amber throughout the court case, like it was her fault for being his punching bag when he was drunk and high. Anyway, yeah. As much as I would hope that Depp is completely over now, I doubt it. I think Rowling will never admit that she was wrong about him, and Depp is still a white man with friends in the industry. He’ll still get work, but his reputation is absolutely sub-garbage.

Amber Heard At Sun Libel Trial

Photos courtesy of Backgrid.

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43 Responses to “Johnny Depp plans to appeal the British court’s judgment in his libel case”

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  1. Merricat says:

    I don’t think he’ll work, at least not in major productions. He’s not worth the trouble, at this point. The best thing he could do right now is find a remote rehab clinic and live there as long as it takes for him to really understand how he wound up here.

    • Mignionette says:

      There is always a way back for powerful white middle aged men. Even wife beaters.

      Johnny needs a redemption story. A real one. But before that happens he needs to do some reflecting and admit his part in this. Regardless of what anyone may think of Amber, she played her hand well trial wise and moved on.

    • detritus says:

      I really hope your read is the right one. It seems that he’s now become an icon for men who don’t understand abuse. This is one of the few places with comments to the otherwise.

      A lot of silly twits think this verdict is anti-feminist because Amber admitted on tape to slapping him, basically ignoring all the other issues and focus on that one incident saying she’s the abuser. They think this is an example of how men who are abused aren’t treated fairly, when what seems to be happening is a common abuser tactic – Depp is trying to control the narrative and Amber, and paint himself as a victim. It’s basically classic DARVO, but they aren’t looking for logic. Just proof men are actually the oppressed ones 🙄

      • Ashley says:

        I’m in a similar position. My ex is angry that I wrote about him and in his effort to control the narrative he’s taking me to court. The lawyer I talked to said he doesn’t stand a chance, but I don’t have the funds to fight him. I’m going to have to start a go fund me. So far I have refused to take down what I wrote but I have a feeling he’s angling to file a suit. Depp’s English trial gives me hope. If the UK told him no, America should as well. America is much harder to fight libel in. As she didn’t name him, how is he going to prove she damaged his reputation? Are people going to come out in his defense and say they didn’t hire him because they think he’s a wife beater. Just like with my ex, neither one of them realizes how stupid and costly this game is. All because a man’s ego was bruised. They’ll never stop.

      • Juju says:

        I also see people linking the tape to say how horrible she is. If you really listen to the conversation you can see how horribly abusive the relationship was. Men like him turn things around to make the victim look like the abuser and stupid men who do the same to their significant others believe it.

  2. Mignionette says:

    His lawyer needs to sit him down and explain why this is such a bad idea. I spoke to ex who is a Barrister yesterday and he thinks any appeal would be dead in the water for so many reasons. The ruling emphatically stated that JD was in fact a wife beater as a matter of fact and not opinion based on the clearly cataloged evidence backed by medical reports. Also judges hate being overruled in the UK and with a case this high profile they will consult each other before the ruling to avoid that.

    Basically it’s time to move on.

    • sarah says:

      I agree that there is a pretty low chance of appeal. You need permission to appeal to the Court of Appeal, and the Court will only grant permission IF there is a real prospect of success in the appeal.

      Since the judgement was largely based on findings of fact by the Judge regarding whether events did or did not happen, it is highly unlikely that the Court of Appeal will question the judge’s findings. Since the Court of Appeal does not get the benefit of viewing the cross examination of witnesses, they are normally very reluctant to second guess the judge in the lower court who did.

      Of course, Depp’s lawyers may find a point of law to appeal on but I can’t immediately see what from the judgment.

    • Katie says:

      it was really nice to read an actual verdict that said she was right. I believed her all the time and there was a moment this year where it seemed the public opinion turned on her and I was like – did I get my facts wrong? but I looked and I could not find enough info to disprove her words, there was a tape that was supposed to expose her and I listened to it but I did not think it did. so I was like I don’t know what’s going on anymore but from where I stand she still looks like she told the truth, even if the relationship was mutually abusive. I did realize I had not even close to enough info to make any definite conclusion. so it’s good to actually have a verdict in an impartial court on this. it’s a win for the society and all the domestic abuse victims.

      • osito says:

        I agree with you, Katie. I think people — Depp’s supporters in particular, but lots of people who felt conflicted about this case — got wrapped up in the “perfect victim” defense. Amber Heard couldn’t have been a victim because she was also violent and manipulative, according to that perspective. I fully accepted that there was some degree of dysfunctional behavior on Amber’s part for lots of reasons, but chiefly because antagonism/instigation can be part of the abusive relationship cycle because abusive relationships are psychologically damaging to all parties. Survivors of abuse might use violence or verbal violence as a dysfunctional deescalation tactic, or may have outsized responses to perceived emotional withdrawals or other issues that may seem less substantial to an objective observer. It doesn’t make the survivor of a beating any less beaten if she cheated, or called names, or spit at, or otherwise instigated toxic behavior toward her partner. She could have been playing mind games all day and all night, and it doesn’t justify his beating her.

        I’m not sure why we have such a persistent cultural image of the victims of violence and assault as people who could not possibly ever engage in toxic behavior themselves. This is false, and *doesn’t negate violence done to them*. It’s really that simple. For every Hollywood tool dude bro who spoke on Depp’s behalf, it was always “Amber was controlling, she yelled at him, she played head games…” And that might have been true! But that doesn’t mean that her behaviors amounted to the same degree of abuse his behaviors, or that she invited or deserved retribution for her behavior.

    • Yawn says:

      I’ve been following some after verdict coverage on Twitter from some other high profile barristers in London who are commenting on the case, and they are all shocked that Depps barrister put out a lengthy statement on why they are appealing. They all believe that it’s strictly posturing for the American public, to gain some type of positive coverage here in the states. They all say no council of sound mind would ever attempt to appeal this verdict- the judge went to great lengths to detail why he ruled the way he did- unless of course the money is too much to overlook.

      Either way, Depp is the dumbest dude out there. He’s getting completely fleeced in legal fees, all in an attempt to continue his harassment and intimidation.

  3. Christa says:

    He wants to be broke, apparently.

    • KL says:

      He’s already broke. This isn’t just about his reputation, this is about winning money from Heard now that she’s had a big payday.

  4. untamed says:

    Good luck LOSER

  5. Nic919 says:

    For an appeal to be successful they will have to show that the trial judge made an error in law and it’s highly unlikely that they can show that. The facts as assessed by the trier of fact I.e. the judge in this case, will be given high deference. That’s the risk of trial. That a judge makes finding of fact you don’t like. And that’s what happened here to Depp.

    • Digital Unicorn says:

      I agree its un usual for the appeals court to overturn cases like this, esp high profile ones. He’s broke and needs the money from any payout from the Sun.

  6. Mtec says:

    He hit rock bottom years ago but yet he keeps digging. I don’t know if it’s addiction or his ego keeping him from self-awareness but, it’s clear he’s not in the headspace to get well yet.

    • Christa says:

      The addiction provider where I work comments on similar issues with “his rock bottom is lower.” He self destructive. He will probably have to be totally broke and then he will probably just off himself. His idol is/was Hunter S Thompson, who not incidentally committed suicide.

  7. Case says:

    Honestly, I don’t think he’ll get much work. As a former fan I can say pretty confidently that other than being an audience favorite for a few years around Pirates, he’s not exactly beloved by Hollywood. He’s too weird and rejects the leading man thing and they don’t like that. On top of that, he started picking awful projects a few years after Pirates and hasn’t bounced back in relevancy since. The only thing he had going for him at this point was his reputation for being a kind person and that’s all gone to hell now. He’ll finish the Harry Potter thing and be done.

    Appealing is so unimaginably stupid. He dragged both their names through the mud for nothing and now he’s going to keep this case in the headlines even longer? Give it up.

  8. Mrs. Peel says:

    Greasy grifter misogynist – that is Depp now and forever.

  9. Ariel says:

    I feel like most media coverage overlooks that this lawsuit, and the one in Virginia, are continued abuse against her. He is obsessed with her. And he blames her for ruining his reputation and life. He takes zero responsibility for being a junkie, for recklessly spending an obscene amount of money, and for tormenting and physically abusing her. He seems to believe all of this is her fault and she must pay. Textbook abuser thinking.

    Also, the amount of and rage of the “team depp” people on twitter, while i think there are certainly that many men and women who think it is her fault, i wonder if he has bought some followers.
    He’s pathetic.
    And of course JK Rowlings is going to keep him.
    She’s of the “own the libs” mindset now. She is a bigot, and for whatever reason, bigoted women seem to hate women as well as minorities.

  10. DS9 says:

    I look forward to the news story that reveals Depp is living in a cardboard box after encouraging his predatory legal team to bleed him dry on cases that have a slim chance of going on his favorite, no chance of any monetary reward, and only further damage his reputation even should he win a single one.

    • Ariel says:

      Knowing his reputation for not paying lawyers and accountants, he has to be paying them monthly, right? I can’t imagine they thought their case was so good they would go for a contingency contract? (wherein they only get paid if he wins, they they would have gotten a percentage of the award- also, in the contingency scenario, he is most likely on the hook for all of the attorney’s costs (experts, filing fees, etc) even if he loses.)

  11. Zapp Brannigan says:

    When was the last time Depp opened a movie to big money, that specifically did not have an inbuilt audience like Pirates, or the Potter spin off. It has been a long time and like a lot of men in Hollywood a blind eye was turned to abhorrent behavior as long as the money came in. He has been given many chances to fail upwards but once the money has stopped so will the chances. Wonder how his partner in texting Paul Bettany is feeling about his friend dragging his name into a scandal and court case about domestic violence, as well as outing their use of drugs together.

    • Case says:

      It’s a bad look for Bettany. As far as I know he’s always come across as a nice family man and those texts were atrocious.

      • Sarah says:

        I missed this, that’s a terrible look for him. I had no idea.

      • Yawn says:

        Immediately after Amber filed for divorce and the TRO, he sent a Twitter message of support for Depp. I firmly believe he didn’t know Depp would drag him down through court and expose him as a misogynist the way he has. I’d be surprised if they are still speaking to one another now.

      • Ashley says:

        Can someone link the Paul Bettany stuff and explain? I love Paul Bettany. I have no idea what everyone is talking about. The only time I follow Depp news is on here and I don’t recall a story about PB. He’s a misogynist?!??

      • Lexa says:

        Depp texted Bettany saying he wanted to drown and then burn Amber as a witch and then.. ahem… fornicate with her body to ensure she was dead.
        Bettany responded something like… I dunno if we should burn her because she’s hot… but I’ll test drowning her in the pool if you want

        It’s jokey but all too real knowing the (drug and booze addled) state of mind Depp was in. YIKES.

    • Ariel says:

      The last *good* movie Depp was in, not sure if it was a big hit, was Chocolat, which came out in 2000.

  12. Sarah says:

    Clearly rich white men do not understand the concept of ‘no’, ‘you’re wrong’, ‘you can’t’.

    JKR seems to be in a weird place these days and showing the nasty side of her character, once she has decided something (trans people are bad, Depp is good), she will stand firm on that no matter what. Clearly rich white women aren’t too far from rich white men.

  13. NotSoSimpleTaylor says:

    The only person who I felt defended Depp and doesn’t deserve to get defecated on is Winona Ryder. I thought she was incredibly careful in issuing her statements about Johnny and their relationship was 30 years ago. She only knows what Johnny manipulated her into believing and she knew it even if she didn’t say it.

    One thing is that Amber Heard has a reputation for being “outspoken” in Hollywood, aka difficult and not PR friendly. I feel like everyone rooted for him because no one wanted to root for her.

    • Yawn says:

      Nope. She deserves to be side-eyed. Her statement basically said “I’m not calling anyone a liar, but that’s not the Johnny I know”. She hasn’t “known” Johnny in decades.

      • NotSoSimpleTaylor says:

        There’s a difference between getting a side-eye and getting the pitchforks out for the kill. Winona deserves one of those things and then to move on with her career. Winona Ryder is my childhood hero and I am biased when it comes to her but even I gave her the side-eye when she defended Depp. I know they are or were very close after their breakup and I have no doubt that she thought she was helping a friend which is somewhat instinctive to do when your friend is in a rough patch. Still, her career has been up and down for years and she was being stupid for coming to his defence. Drugs change people and make them manipulative and Johnny Depp is a shadow and a thought of the man he once was. I really want to believe he manipulated Winona.

        The smartest thing for her would have been to remain silent. But I do have empathy for Winona’s position. It’s not easy to think of someone you are or were intimate with being accused of heinous things. You question yourself so cognitive dissonance is easier.
        It was stupid but she prevented it from being career ending stupidity by being careful which I don’t want to applause but I feel should be acknowledged. It would be lovely to turn affection off on a whim even if someone is accused of being a predator. She doesn’t deserve a round of applause or even pity but she does deserve to have her disposition acknowledged as being difficult.

    • Sunnydaze says:

      I get why people aren’t happy with her statement, but maybe I’m biased …a year ago or so I learned an ex of mine from about 15 years ago was a giant POS and apparently was in some sort of abusive relationship …I have no idea on the details, it was so messy the pieces I got. An old co-worker of mine was friends with his ex and asked if I wanted to write a statement of support for her/co-signing was a terrible person he was. Honestly, he was darling when we were together. I felt so weird declining but I truly honestly couldn’t speak to what she was going through although I have no reason to doubt her based on the evidence there was. So reading Ryder’s statement….I kind of get it based on my experience with something kind of similar (only with way less public pressure obviously). I still have no idea what happened with my ex, it makes me so effing sad. Maybe it’s because we were young, in our early 20s and so much can happen in those years but I just wanted to stay out of it…maybe that’s what ryder should have done as well.

  14. Tyna says:

    I really think Depp will keep trying to fright this in the courts for as long as he can. With him keep fighting this it’s going to keep people second guessing if it’s true or not and his strencthes of supporters happy. He’ll probably still get work from Warner Brothers/Tim Burton (maybe Kevin Smith if he finishes the True North Series) for a while longer although I think Disney could decide to shy away from him if deemed necessary. I would bet on smaller studios and directors shying away from casting him in anything for the next 5-6 years. And if he does get new roles going forward it’s likely safe to say his paycheck is likely halved or more.

    Amber Heard is the one I’m most curious about. She already wasn’t a draw before and besides Aquaman I can name 3 other projects she been in. While I believe that she is probably more of the victim in this matter and could win every case going forward I can’t imagine she’ll have much of career going forward. Right now she has two things filmed waiting for release and 2 in development. There is also the odds that WB drops her from Aquaman sequel (potential to please Depp).

  15. Jules says:

    He looks like a bloated hot mess in that photo. I think he’ll drop out of sight for a bit, get some plastic surgery and a makeover, and return clean-shaven and looking refreshed. Do some interviews of how he’s changed, blah blah blah. I mean, it’s the same thing we see with every celebrity.

  16. capepopsie says:

    Well whatever Depp was like younger, he has obviously changed, because that is not what we are seeing now, sadlat

  17. Juju says:

    He’s such a scumbag. If he just left the whole thing alone years ago and just said he was innocent not going to court, people would’ve forgotten by now. He wants for her to lose all the money she got from the divorce. He uses his power and money to bribe all the celeb news outlets to report in his favor. his behavior is so disgusting.

  18. Vera says:

    ha ha ha
    He got fired from Fantastic Beasts and the Johnny bros are flipping out on twitter about it