The Washington Post on Thursday added a detailed editor’s note to the online version of Amber Heard’s 2018 op-ed at the center of Johnny Depp’s explosive defamation trial.
The new addendum details how a Virginia jury on Tuesday found Heard liable on three counts stemming from her allegations of abuse, “which Depp claimed were false and defamatory.”
The note then goes on to quote passages from Heard’s essay, which were at the heart of Depp’s $50 million lawsuit against his ex-wife:
- (1) “I spoke up against sexual violence — and faced our culture’s wrath. That has to change.”
- (2) “Then two years ago, I became a public figure representing domestic abuse, and I felt the full force of our culture’s wrath for women who speak out.”
- (3) “I had the rare vantage point of seeing, in real time, how institutions protect men accused of abuse.”
During the six-week trial that captivated — and divided — a nation, it emerged that the essay had been ghost-written by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of Heard, who acted as “ambassador on women’s rights” at the nonprofit organization.
The op-ed did not explicitly name Depp as an abuser, and Heard testified that the essay was not about her ex-husband.
“It’s not about Johnny. The only one who thought it was about Johnny is Johnny,” she testified.
But Depp’s attorneys argued that the op-ed clearly implicated him as an abuser by invoking some of the claims Heard had made during his trial against the Sun tabloid in the UK in 2020 — a case that the actor lost.
Jurors in Virginia, however, found for Depp, 58, on all three of his defamation claims and he was awarded just under $10.4 million in damages.
Heard, 36, won on just one of her counterclaims, with the jury awarding her $2 million in damages for defamation by Depp’s former attorney Adam Waldman.
Heard now has 30 days to appeal the verdict, which her attorney Elaine Bredehoft said she plans to do.
Questions have been raised whether the “Pirates of the Caribbean” star, who has accused Heard of using the media to wreck his reputation and career, would pursue legal action against the Washington Post for publishing his ex-wife’s op-ed.