Johnny Depp vows to appeal UK findings of domestic violence

Publication Date09 November 2020
SubjectLitigation, Mediation & Arbitration, Criminal Law, Arbitration & Dispute Resolution, Libel & Defamation, Crime
Law FirmSydney Criminal Lawyers
AuthorMs Sonia Hickey

In the weeks after Harvey Weinstein was found guilty of sexual assault charges, Hollywood vowed to change its misogynistic culture.

Now, it would seem that a significant shift, supported at the highest levels of the industry, is beginning to occur.

Johnny Depp asked to resign

This week, Johnny Depp has been asked to resign from his role as character Gellert Grindewald in the Fantastic Beasts movie after a court judgement in the UK ruled that he had repeatedly assaulted his former wife Amber Heard.

While Mr Depp intends to appeal the judgment made by the British court, he said in a statement on social media that he 'respected and agreed' to the decision by his bosses.

Defamation case against 'The Sun' newspaper

The decision by Warner Brothers came swiftly on the back of London High Court Judge Andrew Nicol's ruling in favour of The Sun newspaper, which Mr Depp was attempting to sue for defamation over a 2018 online article labelling him a "wife beater".

Judge Nicol found that the newspaper's allegation was "substantially true".

Both Mr Depp and his former wife Ms Heard gave evidence before Judge Nicol in July during a three-week hearing at London's High Court, detailing every aspect of their private lives - each making allegations of serious domestic abuse, drug-taking and extra-marital affairs.

In handing down his findings, Judge Nicol found that Mr Depp assaulted Ms Heard on more than 10 occasions, including during a three-day rampage in Queensland.

The decision by Warner Brothers

Warner Brothers executives felt as though they only had three choices with regard to Johnny Depp: to carry on regardless, to reduce his role, or to fire him.

They chose the latter, and his role will now be recast, even in light of the fact that Mr Depp plans to appeal the London High Court's ruling, meaning that the full justice process has not yet run its course, and could potentially expose them to further litigation from the star.

In a similar move earlier this year, Disney confirmed that it had released Johnny Depp from his Pirates of the Caribbean contract.

Several media reports have suggested that the wife-beating allegations had made Johnny Depp 'potential poison' at the box office and given that he is rumoured to earn around $100 million per Pirates film, perhaps Disney number crunches felt that the risk for return just wasn't worth it.

Ending the culture of 'toxic masculinity' in Hollywood

But Hollywood commentators suggest that these decisions are not...

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