After losing his libel trial against the publisher of U.K. tabloid The Sun, protesting the paper’s use of the term “wife-beater” and being asked to resign from the Fantastic Beasts movies (while still collecting a paycheck), the L’s keep coming for ol’ Johnny Depp. According to Deadline, a Virginia judge refused Depp’s request to throw ex-wife Amber Heard’s $100 million countersuit out of court.
As previously reported, Depp filed a $50 million suit against ex-wife Amber Heard in Fairfax County, Virginia, after she published a 2018 op-ed in The Washington Post about how abusive men stay protected. Though the article didn’t mention Depp by name, she detailed the events following the restraining order she filed against her then husband in 2016, sharing stories of Depp’s alleged domestic violence. That case is set to go to trial on May 3, 2021, delayed due to the covid-19 pandemic.
According to ET Canada, in September of last year, Heard launched a $100-million countersuit against Depp, alleging the actor orchestrated “a false and defamatory smear campaign” against her. Depp attempted to have it tossed, but Fairfax County Judge Bruce White was not having it.
“[Depp and his lawyer Adam Waldman’s public remarks] imply that Ms. Heard lied and perjured herself when she appeared before a court in 2016 to obtain a temporary restraining order against Mr. Depp. Moreover they imply that she lied about being a victim of domestic abuse,” White wrote in his opinion on Monday, “In light of the #MeToo Movement and today’s social climate, falsely claiming abuse would surely ‘injure [Ms. Heard’s] reputation in the common estimation of mankind.’ Therefore, this Court finds that the statements contain the requisite ‘sting’ for an actionable defamation claim.”
He continued, “Although Mr. Depp’s statements (and those of his attorney) can be understood as their opinion of what occurred, these statements nevertheless imply that Mr. Depp did not abuse Ms. Heard. These statements must survive demurrer because whether Mr. Depp abused Ms. Heard is a fact that is capable of bring proven true or false.”
Meanwhile, across the pond, Depp filed for an appeal in his libel trail against The Sun, but was denied. On Christmas Eve, however, his U.K. barrister David Sherborne asked the appeal court to “set aside the judgment and order a new trial,” claiming that the ruling was “manifestly unsafe,” according to The Guardian. Whether or not a new trial will take place has yet to be determined, but two things are certain: this is exhausting and Heard deserves better.