Amber Heard spoke with Savannah Guthrie on the high-profile defamation lawsuit launched by ex-husband Johnny Depp, which finished earlier this month with a jury unanimously finding that Heard libelled Depp and awarding him more than $10 million in damages.
Heard questioned the role of social media in the six-week trial that began on April 11 in Virginia in a preview video from her exclusive interview with NBC News, which will appear this week on TODAY and Friday on Dateline.
“Even if you believe I’m worthy of all this anger and hostility, even if you think I’m dishonest, you couldn’t tell me — look me in the eyes and tell me — that you think there’s been a fair portrayal on social media,” Heard added. “You cannot tell me that you believe this is fair.”
The former couple fought in court over an op-ed Heard penned for The Washington Post in 2018 on enduring domestic violence. She did not identify Depp, but his lawyers said the op-ed refers to accusations she made during their 2016 divorce.
The “Pirates of the Caribbean” star claimed Heard for $50 million, claiming that his profession was harmed as a result of the op-ed. She filed a countersuit for $100 million. Depp has rejected all abuse claims.
Depp lost a defamation action in the UK in 2020, which cited some of the same grounds. The actor filed a lawsuit against a publication after it alleged he attacked Heard. A judge determined that the assertions made in the newspaper were “basically truthful.” According to Heard’s counsel, the verdict in Virginia was not conveyed to the jury.
Jurors in Virginia were told not to read about or examine the issue, but they were not locked up.
Throughout the slander case, users on social media, notably TikTok, strongly backed Depp. On TikTok as of June 3, the hashtag #justiceforjohnnydepp had approximately 20 billion views, while #justiceforamberheard had more than 80 million. At the time, hashtags like #amberheardisguilty received 900 million views on social media.
Despite the fact that the jury was told not to use social media, Heard’s defence team argued it had an influence on the verdict.
“There’s no way they couldn’t have been impacted by that, and it was horrific,” Elaine Charlson Bredehoft, Heard’s attorney, expressed. “It was incredibly, terribly unbalanced.”
Depp’s attorneys, Benjamin Chew and Camille Vasquez, stated that there was “no reason to suspect the jurors breached their pledge” by engaging in social media activity.
Finally, the jury of seven unanimously concluded “clear and compelling proof” that Heard defamed Depp and awarded him $15 million in compensation and punitive damages. The judge decreased the punitive damages, bringing Heard’s total debt to Depp to $10.4 million. After determining that one of Depp’s attorneys had libelled her, the jury awarded Heard $2 million in compensatory damages.
Considering the decision and internet reaction, Heard stated that she isn’t bothered by the public’s perception of her.
“I don’t care what anyone thinks of me or what conclusions you draw about what transpired in the privacy of my own house, in my marriage, behind closed doors,” Heard added. “I don’t think the average individual should be aware of these things.” As a result, I don’t take it personally.”
Heard also stated that she does not criticize the jurors for their decision. She admitted she comprehends. He’s a well-liked figure, and people believe they know him. He’s an amazing performer.
Heard’s lawyer, Bredehoft, stated that her client intends to fight the conviction.
Amber Heard’s interview with Savannah will appear on TODAY on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and an hour-long special will air on Dateline on Friday.