Depp vs. Heard Trial Gains Much Attention



This combination of two separate photos shows actor Johnny Depp, left, and Amber Heard in the courtroom at the Fairfax County Circuit Courthouse in Fairfax, Va., Monday, May 23, 2022. Depp sued his ex-wife Amber Heard for libel in Fairfax County Circuit Court after she wrote an op-ed piece in The Washington Post in 2018 referring to herself as a “public figure representing domestic abuse.” (AP Photo/Steve Helber, Pool)

Emmett Cryan, Contributing Writer

Over the past six weeks in Fairfax, Virginia, the defamation trial between actors Johnny Depp and Amber Heard grabbed the attention of the country.  In the end, the jury would find both parties liable for making false statements and damaging the character of the other person. 

In 2018, Heard published an opinion article in The Washington Post, and although the article did not explicitly mention Depp’s name, it strongly implied that serious accounts of domestic violence and sexual abuse occurred during their marriage.  This article spread like wildfire and would soon result in a rapid decline of Depp’s film career, as several major filming studios dropped him due to this accusation. 

  On the other side, Depp claims that he was physically abused over the course of their relationship.  Both legal teams brought evidence to court with documentation of verbal threats that occurred during the relationship.  Depp’s legal team called forward the couple’s marriage counselor to the stand, where she stated that their relationship was one of “mutual abuse.”

According to NBC News, where the outcome of the trial was published, “The jury determined that Heard acted with actual malice when writing her op-ed.”

This led to Johnny Depp gaining $10 million in compensation and five million in punitive damages, while Amber Heard received two million dollars in damages, while also having to pay 

back 10 million dollars for damages. 

“I’ve been hearing about this case for so long on social media – I can’t believe it’s finally over,” said sophomore Holly Sternlicht.

As Depp and Heard battled in the courthouse, live stream cameras brought the dispute to social media for all audiences to see.  Platforms such as TikTok and YouTube participated in spreading moments of the trial by reposting clips that would go viral and by sharing their opinions.  It is no surprise that students from the Schreiber community began to create their own variety of opinions about the Depp vs Heard Trial.

 “It’s amazing how this trial is getting so much attention.  It feels as if this story is a distraction from all the other real news going on around the world,” said freshman Sloane Silverstein. 

At the height of the trial, the event caused a rift between those who supported Depp and those who stood with Heard.  People from all across the world came together to give their input on the trial, whether they be fans of the two actors, professionals in forensic science, or lawyers. 

       One of the biggest arguments the trial has provoked was a debate over the idea ofcancel culture.”  For many, this trial demonstrated that simply canceling people over allegations without proof can be unjust.  Following the trial, many film studios, directors, and talent agents have publicly apologized to Depp for “canceling” him as a result of the Washington Post article published back in 2018. 

       Although the trial has ceased, the news and rumors surrounding it has yet to end.  Due to Depp’s $15 million win, many are wondering how Heard can pay him back.

“I don’t think Amber Heard has enough money to pay the damages of the case – it will be interesting to see how Depp will ultimately receive his money,” said freshman Patrick Tiernan.  

Following the trial, Amber Heard’s net worth stood at six million, which included her two million dollar win.  On top of the crushing debt that she will have to pay off, Heard is now also at risk for losing roles, including screen time and money from her role as Mera in Aquaman – both of which would have helped her to meet her dues.  Heard had a substantial amount of screen time as Mera, and her absence in Aquaman 2 will be quite significant.  As this trial concludes, there is no doubt that this scandal has had a significant reach on all generations, both young and old.