Heard Blames Social Media For Verdict In Defamation Case
Amber Heard sat down with Savannah Guthrie to discuss the defamation case brought by ex-husband Johnny Depp that ended with a unanimous jury finding that Heard defamed Depp and awarded him more than $10 million in damages.
In a preview clip from Heard’s exclusive interview with NBC News, Heard blamed social media for influencing the trial.
“Even somebody who is sure I’m deserving of all this hate and vitriol, even if you think that I’m lying, you still couldn’t tell me — look me in the eye and tell me — that you think on social media there’s been a fair representation,” Heard said. “You cannot tell me that you think that this has been fair.”
The former couple duked it out in court over a 2018 op-ed Heard wrote for The Washington Post in which she claimed to be a survivor of domestic abuse. Though she did not name Depp, his attorneys allege the op-ed references claims that she made during their divorce in 2016. The “Pirates of the Caribbean” star sued Heard for $50 million, claiming the op-ed affected his career. She countersued for $100 million.
Depp received overwhelming support on social media throughout the trial. As of June 3, the hashtag #justiceforjohnnydepp had nearly 20 billion views on TikTok, while #justiceforamberheard had over 80 million. Hashtags like #amberheardisguilty had 900 million views.
The jury was instructed to stay off social media, but Heard’s legal team argues that it still impacted the case.
“There’s no way they couldn’t have been influenced by it, and it was horrible,” Heard’s attorney Elaine Charlson Bredehoft said. “It really, really was lopsided.”
Depp’s attorneys, Benjamin Chew and Camille Vasquez said there was “no reason to believe the jurors violated their oath” by engaging on social media.
Ultimately the jury unanimously found “clear and convincing evidence” that Heard defamed Depp, awarding him $15 million in combined compensatory and punitive damages. The judge reduced the punitive damages, making the total amount that Heard owes Depp $10.4 million. The jury also awarded Heard $2 million in compensatory damages after the jury found that one of Depp’s lawyers had defamed her.
Despite the verdict and media response, Heard said that she was not offended by the public’s opinion of her.
“I don’t care what one thinks about me or what judgments you want to make about what happened in the privacy of my own home, in my marriage, behind closed doors,” Heard said. “I don’t presume the average person should know these things. And so I don’t take it personally.”
Heard said she doesn’t blame the jury for ruling against her.
“I actually understand,” she said. “He’s a beloved character and people feel they know him. He’s a fantastic actor.”
Heard’s lawyers said she plans to appeal the verdict.