The Amber Heard v Johnny Depp Verdict, Explained

‘#MeToo is dead,’ one commentator observed.

Johnny Depp Amber Heard verdict

by Lydia Spencer-Elliott |

After a six-week trial and two days of jury deliberation, the verdict for the defamation trial between Amber Heard and Johnny Depp is in. In her 2018 Washington Post op-ed, the jury unanimously found Amber Heard defamed Depp three times. Meanwhile, Depp was found to have defamed Heard once when his attorney Adam Waldman gave quotes to the Daily Mail in 2020.

In the op-ed, Heard made clear she was a survivor of sexual violence but never directly mentioned Depp. However, she did outline that her career suffered when she made accusations against a man in Hollywood. Depp’s lawyers argued that readers would have been able to ascertain the piece was referencing Depp without him being named and the jury agreed that the piece had been defamatory. But how much does Amber Heard have to pay Johnny Depp and what else did the jury decide? Here’s everything you need to know.

How much does Amber Heard have to pay Johnny Depp?

Johnny Depp sued Heard for $50million over her 2018 op-ed referencing her experience of domestic abuse. Although jurors ruled in favour of Depp’s claim on three counts, they awarded him $15million. Additionally, the judge then reduced this amount to $10.35million as there is a limit to punitive damages under state law.

How much does Amber Heard have to pay Johnny Depp?
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How much does Johnny Depp have to pay Amber Heard?

Amber Heard countersued Johnny Depp for $100million, saying that she was defamed by Depp via his lawyer Adam Waldman who told the Daily Mail her allegations were ‘an abuse hoax’ designed to capitalise on the #MeToo movement. The jury ruled she had been defamed by Depp via Waldman and awarded her $2million.

How much does Johnny Depp have to pay Amber Heard?
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What did Johnny Depp say about the verdict?

In a lengthy Instagram post, Johnny Depp said of the jury’s verdict: ‘Six years ago, my life, the life of my children, the lives of those closest to me, and also, the lives of the people, who for many, many years have supported and believed in me were forever changed. All in the blink of an eye.

‘False, very serious and criminal allegations were levied at me via the media, which triggered an endless barrage of hateful content, although no charges were ever brought against me. It had already travelled around the world twice within a nanosecond and it had a seismic impact on my life and my career. And six years later, the jury gave me my life back. I am truly humbled.

‘My decision to pursue this case, knowing very well the height of the legal hurdles that I would be facing and the inevitable, worldwide spectacle into my life, was only made after considerable thought.

‘From the very beginning, the goal of bringing this case was to reveal the truth, regardless of the outcome. Speaking the truth was something that I owed to my children and to all those who have remained steadfast in their support of me. I feel at peace knowing I have finally accomplished that.’

What did Amber Heard say about the verdict?

Of the verdict, Amber Heard said in a statement to social media: ‘The disappointment I feel today is beyond words. I’m heartbroken that the mountain of evidence still was not enough to stand up to the disproportionate power, influence, and sway of my ex-husband.

‘I’m even more disappointed with what this verdict means for other women. It is setback. It sets back the clock to a time when a woman who spoke up and spoke out could be publicly shamed and humiliated. It sets back the idea that violence against women is to be taken seriously.

‘I believe Johnny’s attorneys succeeded in getting the jury to overlook the key issue of Freedom of Speech and ignore evidence that was so conclusive that we won in the UK. I’m sad I lost this case. But I am sadder still that I seem to have lost a right I thought I had as an American - to speak freely and openly.’

What was the verdict for Depp and Heard in the UK?

Johnny Depp lost a defamation case against The Sun in the UK in November 2020. Depp sued the newspaper after they published an article that labelled him a ‘wife beater’. The judge determined that The Sun had proved that what was in the article was ‘substantially true’ and found 12 of 14 alleged incidents of domestic violence had occurred.

What has the public reaction been to the Depp vs Heard verdict?

Depp has had crowds of fans waiting for him outside of the courtroom every day in Virginia and a relentless stream of support on social media, but some have reacted to the jury’s decision with despair, worrying it could silence domestic abuse survivors and spell the end of #MeToo movement.

Quoting Gloria Steinem, Amy Schumer wrote on Instagram: ‘Any woman who chooses to behave like a full human being should be warned that the armies of the status quo will treat her as something of a dirty joke… She will need her sisterhood.’

Meanwhile on Twitter, members of the public fully condemned the decision: ‘The legacy of this awful trial will be powerful men suing women who have accused them of sexual assault, DA, or rape, and had no criminal recourse,’ one user wrote. ‘That’s most survivors in this country.’

‘Maybe court cases shouldn’t be streamed like an episode of love island for everyone to make infographics, fan cams and memes from,’ added another, while a third simply claimed: ‘#MeToo is dead.’

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