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Can Johnny Depp and Amber Heard get their acting careers back?

Following an explosive six-week libel trial followed by millions on social media and live television, Johnny Depp Y Amber Heard They each face an uphill battle trying to rebuild their image and career.

Depp already has the advantage, the verdict of the jury on Wednesday mainly favors his version of events: that his ex-wife defamed him by accusing him of abuse.

“Depp has to climb a hill. Heard has a mountain to climb,” said Eric Dezenhall, a crisis management specialist based in Washington who was not involved in the case.

“If Depp keeps his expectations reasonable and understands that he is unlikely to reach his previous heights, he can have a solid career if he takes things slow. At the end of the day, he was vindicated in court, he was not declared a saint.”

The challenge for Heard, Dezenhall said, is that some believe rightly or wrongly that he abused and even tarnished the #MeToo movement.

Following the trial, which pitted what he said against what she said, the verdict delivered in Fairfax County, Virginia, concluded that Depp had been defamed by three claims in a 2018 op-ed written by Heard in who identified himself as a victim of abuse.

The jury awarded the “Pirates of the Caribbean” star more than $10 million. The jury also concluded that Heard was defamed by Depp’s former lawyer, who accused her of misleading her about his abuse allegations. She was awarded two million dollars.

Since those cases are notoriously hard to win, was the libel route the way to go? Some observers with experience of high-profile cases see Depp’s decision to sue, even though it meant dragging his and Heard’s personal lives into the mud, as a last-ditch attempt to boost his star appeal after his failed London libel lawsuit. against The Sun newspaper which described him as a “beating husband”.

“I think the defamation case was a Hail Mary,” said David Glass, a Los Angeles civil attorney with a doctorate in psychology.

After being married for only 15 months, Depp sued Heard for $50 million over an op-ed in The Washington Post in which she called herself “a public figure representing domestic abuse.” She did not identify Depp by name, and the article was published two years after she began making public accusations against him.

Heard countersued for $100 million, accusing the actor of defaming her with allegations of cheating made by attorney Adam Waldman. Much of the final days of the trial focused on the effects of both claims. Depp testified: “I lost almost everything,” and Heard accused him of trying to erase his ability to work.

“Now standing here today, I can’t have a career,” Heard testified at the end of the trial. “I hope to get my voice back. That’s all I want”.

But does a verdict of any kind have the power to reverse the accusations that were made in court? Depp as an aging drug and alcohol addict who is physically and sexually abusive, and Heard as unstable and able to fake bruises allegedly inflicted by the man she said she stayed with for love.

Through it all, Depp’s fan base remains strong. Fans camped out overnight for a chance to enter the room. But unlike rockers or stand-up comedians who have been affected by the #MeToo movement and can still make money from their live shows, Depp and Heard need the studio machinery, which is often adversarial. to crises, in order to earn a lot of money.

Both need to get back on their feet, whether it’s doing the traditional in-depth interviews or another secret weapon of their PR teams.

Heard, who was in court Wednesday to hear the verdict, plans to appeal. Depp, who was not in court, said “the jury gave me my life back. I am truly honored.”

Danny Deraney, who has done crisis PR for some of Hollywood’s #MeToo accusers, said men in general are more likely than women to find new entertainment jobs “when it comes to forgiveness, when it comes to the things they’ve done.”

He added: “I think it will be easier for Johnny. For Amber, innocent or guilty or whatever, it will be difficult. I don’t think her career is over, but I’m sure it will be quite affected because everyone will now see her as a difficult woman to work with, seeing her emotions the way they have, whether they were wrong or wrong. correct. I think they’ll look at it and say ‘do we want this on our set?’”

Danielle Lindemann, an assistant professor of sociology at Lehigh University who researches issues of gender, sexuality and culture, said Depp’s ability to earn large sums of money had already been affected, either by his self-destruction or Heard’s accusations.

“But I don’t think it’s ‘cancelled,'” said Lindemann, author of “True Story: What Reality Says About Us.”

The damage to his career could also be much less severe in Asian and European markets, where his popularity remains high. And he will probably get work on independent productions.

Since the ex-partner began making accusations, Heard has faced intense pushback on social media. She said Depp campaigned for her to be fired as an ambassador for L’Oreal and for her role as Mera to be cut from the “Aquaman” sequel, though a production executive testified that she is still in the film due for release next year. .

Mads Mikkelsen replaced Depp as Gellert Grindelwald in the latest “Fantastic Beasts” movie.

Depp’s future is also uncertain in the “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise, something he blamed on Heard’s accusations. Producer Jerry Bruckheimer has revealed that there are two “Pirates” scripts in development, but neither will feature Depp’s Captain Jack Sparrow, a role that earned him an Oscar nomination. His last appearance in the Disney-owned franchise was in 2017’s “Dead Men Tell No Tales.”

Dior has used Depp for years to promote the men’s fragrance, Sauvage. The fashion house has been silent on the abuse allegations and continues to use him in commercials.

Lawyer Brett Ward, who works in New York and specializes in family matters, said it could take years to know if Depp’s case will eventually lead to his return as a top-notch actor.

“If not? I think she made a terrible mistake because most people are not going to remember her distinguished career in Hollywood. They will remember this trial. He is like OJ Simpson. People knew him more because of what he went through in that trial than because of his soccer career.”

Dezenhall disagreed. He said the case that captured the world’s attention could be a groundbreaking one for people and corporations facing existential threats to their reputations and livelihoods. The old logic that filing defamation lawsuits was riskier than the rewards no longer necessarily applies, he said. They are very difficult to win because proving malice is traditionally thought to be very misleading. Why recycle the negative when people could forget?

Now, he said, the stakes were too high to avoid those libel fights in court.

Dezenhall wrote on the digital platform Substack: “If you’re already covered in mud and it’s on the internet forever, what’s a little more mud if your life has already been ruined?”

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