Johnny Depp's 'career ended' by libel trial, claim top lawyers11/12/2020
Johnny Depp will never work in Hollywood again following his libel trial loss, according to top lawyers.
The 57-year-old announced on Friday that he was leaving the Fantastic Beasts franchise after a judge ruled that The Sun newspaper was justified in referring to Depp as a ‘wife-beater’ in a headline.
In a high-profile libel trial, Depp’s ex-wife Amber Heard testified that she was attacked 12 times by the star during their relationship, beginning in 2013.
And media lawyers have claimed the trial was possibly career-ending for Depp.
Media lawyer Mark Stephens said: ‘This is devastating for Depp. He is now toxic. He will be known for ever as a wife beater, a drunkard and a druggie. It will be written on his headstone.’
Steven Heffer, Head of Media and Privacy at law firm Collyer Bristow, also told the Mail that ‘Depp’s strategy was high risk and has proved an absolute disaster’.
Heffer suggested that a public denial would have been a better approach, and said of the libel trial: ‘Unfortunately for Depp, it is highly likely to have been a career-ending decision. What it does mean is that the future of the other legal actions is uncertain.’
Depp is suing Heard for defamation in a $50 million lawsuit in Virginia, US, with the trial due to take place next year.
Stephens, from legal firm Howard Kennedy, previously said that Depp’s trial against The Sun would be a ‘dress rehearsal’ for that lawsuit, and that a loss in the British courts would likely lead to a loss Stateside too.
The Pirates Of The Caribbean star expressed his intention to appeal Justice Nicol’s ruling last week, as he confirmed Warner Bros asked him to resign from his role as Gellert Grindelwald in the Fantastic Beasts franchise.
In a handwritten statement shared to social media, Depp said: ‘Firstly, I’d like to thank everybody who has gifted me with their support and loyalty.
‘I have been humbled and moved by your many messages of love and concern, particularly over the last few days.
‘Secondly, I wish to let you know that I have been asked to resign by Warner Bros from my role as Grindelwald in Fantastic Beasts and I have respected and agreed to that request.
‘Finally, I wish to say this. The surreal judgement of the court in the UK will not change my fight to tell the truth and I confirm that I plan to appeal.
‘My resolve remains strong and I intend to prove that the allegations against me are false. My life and career will not be defined by this moment in time.’
Depp had already shot scenes for the third installment in the franchise, which is set to be a five-movie series.
In response to Depp’s statement, a spokesperson for Women’s Aid said: ‘The allegations of domestic abuse were extremely serious.
‘The judge ruled that Depp had abused Ms Heard on 12 occasions, and ruled that, as Depp said in a text, he had “no mercy” for her.
‘It is vital that this is not minimised or dismissed in any way.’
It is unclear as of yet who will be recast as Grindelwald, with filming set to resume early next year.
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