#NewsBytesExplainer: Why Johnny Depp got fired and Amber Heard didn't?
Currently, the much-publicized defamation trial between Hollywood actors and former spouses Johnny Depp and Amber Heard is ongoing. While both sides have levied allegations of bad behavior, the matter of Depp getting sacked from various franchises when Heard was not, keeps getting momentum. For a long time, viewers have demanded Heard's removal from popular series like the Aquaman movies. So why didn't that happen?
- After meeting on the sets of The Rum Diary in 2009, Depp-Heard got married in 2015 but their marital life ended abruptly in a few months.
- Things got murkier when Heard's 2018 Washington Post op-ed piece detailed her experience of speaking against sexual violence.
- Depp filed a $50M defamation suit against Heard in 2019, and the latter filed a $100M counter-suit next year.
The first setback for Depp came in 2018 when he was axed from the Pirates of the Caribbean film series. While Disney said it was because they were rehashing the series, Depp claimed it happened due to Heard's allegations. Meanwhile, The Danish Girl star talked about being recast in a movie and dropped from brands for speaking out against abuse in her WP piece.
In November 2020, Warner Bros. severed ties with the Edward Scissorhands actor by asking him to resign from his role as Gellert Grindelwald in the Harry Potter spin-off, Fantastic Beasts. This broke the dam for his fans as online petitions and campaigns began for WB to kick out Heard, who was the "actual perpetrator" for them, from the Jason Momoa-led Aquaman franchise.
Now, technically, WB cannot fire an actor just because of online petitions. As per reports, Heard's contract with the banner says that it can be breached only if and when there are criminal charges filed against her. Notably, the studio asked Depp to bow out of Fantastic Beasts only after he lost his libel case against The Sun, which had called him a "wife-beater."
Responding to calls for firing Heard, producer Peter Safran had once said, "I don't think we're ever going to react to, honestly, pure fan pressure." "You have to do what's right for the film, and that's really where we landed on it," he added.
So, unless The Tourist actor manages to prove that his former spouse lied about the abuse or distorted facts to present self-defense as abuse, Heard is likely to keep her job as Mera in Aquaman 2. Coming to the trial that began on April 12, a couple's therapist who worked with Depp-Heard, said both were victims of childhood abuse and engaged in "mutual abuse."