Johnny Depp is Appealing His Lawsuit, But Hollywood May Have Just Needed an Excuse to Drop Him Anyway


I’ve made it pretty clear as I’ve covered Johnny Depp’s troubled marriage with Amber Heard, the abuse allegations and the lawsuits that have come from that situation that I personally don’t think Johnny Depp was abusive to Amber Heard. I was a bit shocked that Depp lost his lawsuit against the Rupert Murdoch-owned The Sun tabloid for calling him a “wife-beater” and I wasn’t surprised to hear he was appealing that ruling.

What did surprise me was the story in The Hollywood Reporter that seemed to say Hollywood studios had been looking for an excuse to cut Depp loose anyway and his lawsuit loss just gave it to them.

“He has suffered immense reputational carnage from a reckless set of choices that has left him in septic muck,” says Eric Schiffer, a crisis PR rep whose clients include a number of high-profile Hollywood and sports figures. “Can he come out of that? It really comes down to Johnny’s choices. He still has a fan base that in many ways is like Donald Trump’s with their emotional intensity and commitment to a star icon. It’s not based around principles. It’s about charisma and their identification of the range of characters that he’s played.”

Basically, the THR story says is that Johnny Depp has a lot of troubles that are his fault and even if you don’t believe Heard’s allegations against him movie studios had plenty of reasons not to want to work with him, such as his drug use leading to wildly erratic behavior.

But Depp’s desire for revenge, egged on by his lawyer, is ultimately was has lead studios to turn away from the actor.

To many observers, Depp’s negative press was largely avoidable and stemmed from his aggressive legal tactics. The chief architect behind Depp’s sue-’em-all strategy is Adam Waldman, a handsome Washington lawyer with his own sheen of controversy given a clientele that has included Russian oligarchs and Julian Assange. Waldman, who is married to Berlin-based jet-setter and luxury skin-care entrepreneur Barbara Sturm, conducts himself in an unorthodox manner, mocking his legal opponents on Twitter. Sources say Depp met Waldman through Saudi Arabian Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, the country’s powerful minister of energy, in summer 2016. (Depp spent time aboard the prince’s megayacht in the past.) Waldman quickly became a Svengali figure in Depp’s life, with the actor axing most of his inner circle.

“Never mind Svengali. He’s Depp’s Rasputin,” says one insider. Waldman declined to talk for this piece.

Not that Depp needed much encouragement to want revenge, it did come out in his civil case against The Sun that Depp told his agent that Amber Heard was “begging for total global humiliation. She’s gonna get it. I’m gonna need your texts about San Francisco brother … I’m even sorry to ask … But she sucked [Elon Musk’s] crooked dick and he gave her some shitty lawyers … I have no mercy, no fear and not an ounce of emotion or what I once thought was love for this gold digging, low level, dime a dozen, mushy, pointless dangling overused flappy fish market … I’m so fucking happy she wants to fight this out!!! She will hit the wall hard!!! And I cannot wait to have this waste of a cum guzzler out of my life!!! I met fucking sublime little Russian here … Which makes me realize the time I blew on that 50 cent stripper … I wouldn’t touch her with a goddam glove.”

So yeah, he was a little mad.

Basically, if Depp wanted to save his career all he really had to do was let Heard make her accusations, deny them and not respond. Keeping a level head and getting off drugs wouldn’t have hurt either. Basically, regardless of the truth of Amber Heard’s allegations, studios were still willing to work with Depp but he kept digging the hike he was in deeper and deeper until they had to cut him loose.

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