For Johnny Depp and his reputation, a bet on a double-edged sword

Pour Johnny Depp et sa réputation, un pari à double tranchant

Pour Johnny Depp et sa réputation, un pari à double tranchant

By attacking the tabloid <em>The Sun</em>, Johnny Depp had to protect his reputation. But the three-week trial, with a riot of revelations gloomy about his private life and his marriage with Amber Heard, may cost dear to the star as his ex-wife.

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28 July 2020 9h52

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For Johnny Depp and his reputation, a bet on a double-edged sword

Martine Pauwels

Agence France-Presse

LONDON — By attacking the tabloid The Sun, Johnny Depp had to protect his reputation. But the three-week trial, with a riot of revelations gloomy about his private life and his marriage with Amber Heard, may cost dear to the star as his ex-wife.

“No matter who wins this battle sickening, Johnny Depp and Amber Heard will BOTH lose”, headline in the Daily Mail at the beginning of the trial, which ends on Tuesday.

Supposed to determine if the tabloid is guilty of defamation by presenting the actor as a husband is violent, the hearings for the day-to-day exhibited in long, wide and through the details little glorious of their relationship.

There were discussed the dependence of Johnny Depp to the drug, the charges of deception against Amber Heard, in passing by excrement found in the marriage bed.

“The damage is done”

“They have so much unpacked and washed their dirty linen in public, both literally and figuratively” that “the damage is already done”, regardless of the verdict, writes the expert in public relations, Mark Borkowski, interview by the AFP.

According to him, “the trial has worsened things,” providing the public with “a story of large-scale” on their private issues. The case shows, “so much for Johnny Depp as Amber Heard, that the glory is toxic.”

According to Emily Cox, a lawyer in the libel suits, the actor has made the right choice in bringing the case before the court.

“If it was left unchallenged these serious accusations of domestic violence, they would remain forever associated with his name,” she explains. “This would undoubtedly have a bigger impact on his career that the revelation of details little flattering.”

The lawyer considers the revelations about his drug use as a lesser evil, because “an actor who suffers from addiction will be far better considered as an actor who hits his wife”.

For her, it might even earn him the “compassion” of Hollywood if he was trying to get out of his addiction.

“If Depp wins his lawsuit, this could give a new impetus to his career and increase his popularity, as the person unjustly accused of domestic violence”, a judge or even a lawyer.

More pessimistic, Mark Borkowski thinks that it will be difficult to actually “prove” his innocence, and told the actor “a Pyrrhic victory”. “It has made Amber Heard a martyr,” he added, “It has become a totem of the struggles current, the emblem of those who suffer from partner abuse.”

“A Brave knight”

The procedure is nevertheless not without risk to the actress of 34 years, yet cited only as a witness.

“The defense of the Sun is based entirely on the accusations made by Amber Heard, so well that its credibility is just as much at stake as that of Depp,” said Emily Cox.

“If the Sun loses its lawsuit, it could well find itself ostracized by Hollywood.”

On the other hand, if the newspaper wins, the actress of The Danish Girl and Aquaman will be “regarded as the brave knight who launched a crusade against domestic violence,” adds the lawyer.

In this case, the consequences for Johnny Depp will be “catastrophic to his professional career”, his name remaining “forever marred by these accusations”.

A decision in this direction “could also have an impact on his defamation complaint against Ms. Heard in the United States, putting an end to his reputation,” says Ms. Cox.

“For a franchise in a major, with a lot of money in the game, it could then be a danger” to recruit the actor, confirms Mark Borkowski.

The latter considers, however, that the career of the actor could get over it and find opportunities, in particular on the side of “independent producers” or “the big european producers”. Before adding: “On these subjects, people tend to suffer from amnesia”.

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