Entertainment

Amber Heard Says Social Media’s Role in Johnny Depp’s Trial Wasn’t ‘Fair’

Amber Heard opened up to Savannah Guthrie about the high-profile defamation case brought by ex-husband Johnny Depp that concluded earlier this month when a jury unanimously found Heard defamed Depp and awarded him more than $10 million in damages. .

In a preview clip of Heard’s exclusive interview with NBC News, which will air Tuesday and Wednesday on TODAY and in a one-hour special Friday on Dateline, Heard criticized the role social media played in the trial of six weeks that began on April 11 in Virginia. .

“Even someone who is sure I deserve all this hate and vitriol, even if you think I’m lying, you still couldn’t tell me, look me in the eye and tell me, what you think on social media. There has been fair representation,” he said. heard. “You can’t tell me that you think this has been fair.”

Savannah Guthrie interviews Amber Heard.
Savannah Guthrie interviews Amber Heard.NBC

The former couple fought in court over a 2018 op-ed Heard wrote for The Washington Post in which she described surviving domestic abuse. He did not name Depp, though his lawyers argued the op-ed refers to claims he made during their 2016 divorce. The “Pirates of the Caribbean” star sued Heard for $50 million, claiming the op-ed affected his career. She countersued for $100 million. Depp has denied all allegations of abuse.

In 2020, Depp lost a libel suit in the UK that raised some of the same issues. The actor sued a newspaper after he claimed he assaulted Heard. A judge had ruled that the newspaper’s claims were “substantially true.” That trial was not disclosed to jurors in Virginia, according to Heard’s attorney.

Jurors in Virginia were ordered not to read or investigate the case, but they were not kidnapped.

On social media, particularly TikTok, people overwhelmingly supported Depp during the libel trial. As of June 3, the hashtag #justiceforjohnnydepp had almost 20 billion views on TikTok, while #justiceforamberheard had more than 80 million. Tags like #amberheardisguilty had 900 million views on social media at the time.

Although the jury was instructed to stay away from social media, Heard’s legal team insisted it still impacted the case.

“There’s no way they weren’t influenced by that, and it was horrible,” Heard’s attorney, Elaine Charlson Bredehoft, told Savannah on TODAY on June 2. “Really, it was unbalanced.”

In an appearance on TODAY on June 8, Depp’s attorneys, Benjamin Chew and Camille Vasquez, said there was “no reason to believe jurors violated their oath” by engaging on social media.

Ultimately, the seven-person 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, bringing the total amount Heard owes Depp to $10.4 million. The jury also awarded Heard $2 million in compensatory damages after the jury found that one of Depp’s attorneys had defamed her.

Despite the verdict and the online response, Heard told Savannah that she is not offended by public opinion of her.

“I don’t care what you think of 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 think the average person should know these things. So I don’t take it personally.”

Heard also said she doesn’t blame the jury for ruling against her.

“I actually get it,” he said. “He’s a beloved character and people feel like he knows him. He’s a fantastic actor.”

Bredehoft, Heard’s attorney, told Savannah that his client plans to appeal the verdict.

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