Johnny Depp Wins Against Amber Heard — And the Media Loses

Amber Heard's Attorney Says Star Will Appeal Verdict in Defamation Case |

When Johnny Depp first sued The Sun newspaper in the UK for calling him a “wife beater,” I was just as engrossed in the outcome of that of that trial as I was when he sued Amber Heard in the United States for defamation. I believed then, as I believe now, that Johnny Depp is innocent of the allegations against him. Not only did I believe him not to be a “wife beater,” I believed he was also a victim of serious physical and emotional abuse at the hands of his then wife — Amber Heard.

Many folks in the media and anyone anti-Depp likes to use the UK verdict to measure Johnny Depp’s innocence or guilt. In fact, many will argue that the standard for winning in the UK is even more difficult, as the burden is on the newspaper to prove the truth of what they printed as opposed to the burden being on Johnny Depp to prove that it is false. What these people don’t understand; however, is something very important — the law.

For starters, the UK involved different parties. Johnny Depp sued a newspaper, not Amber Heard. For Johnny Depp to win the case in the UK he would have to prove that The Sun had absolutely no reason to believe the truth of what they printed. All they needed to prevail was for Heard to testify as the source. “You see,” they would say, “the accuser herself has testified to the violence. It’s not up to us to strap her to a lie detector.” Simply put, all the The Sun had to prove is that they didn’t pull it out of thin air. It’s a much easier for The Sun than many suspect.

In the United States, there’s one thing we know for certain about suing a celebrity for defamation — it is hard as hell to win. Because Depp is a “public figure,” he must not only prove that Heard’s allegations are false, but that she had “actual malice” when she said it. That means at the time she wrote and published the now infamous Op-Ed in the Washington Post stating, “I spoke up against sexual violence — and faced our culture’s wrath. That has to change,” she knew it was a lie. And after weeks of grueling testimony in a Virginia court, the jury decided that Amber Heard not only lied — she did so with purpose (or malice).

Many in the media have used this case to support their own personal agenda. Anti #MeToo republicans such as Megyn Kelly seem to have found some perverse joy in a woman being exposed for her lies, as if it’s some larger knock at a liberal agenda. Some major media outlets, on the other hand, are so unbearably biased that they printed thought pieces begging us to continue to “believe all women” rather than review the evidence at hand.

The New York Times, for example, called the trial a “sad spectacle” that “rested less on facts than on sympathies.” They also claimed that Depp was at a distinct advantage because “he’s a more familiar performer, a bigger star who has dwelled for much longer in the glow of public approbation.” And in the most heinous of statements (shame on you, NYT) they surmised that “the audience was primed to accept him as flawed, vulnerable, human, and to view her as monstrous…because he’s a man.”

I need not explain that Johnny Depp’s gender has done nothing but work against him since Heard first accused him of violence. Heard was immediately believed before anyone even looked at the evidence, and Depp was swiftly dropped from nearly every movie, including the very lucrative Pirates franchise, with little to no recourse. In the eyes of the public, the media, and perhaps some in his close orbit, he was a villainous monster who sexually assaulted and beat his wife. He was unemployable. And to make matters worse, he was the real victim who was simultaneously suffering the residual trauma of domestic violence at the hands of his wife. The idea that his gender worked to his benefit is therefore laughable.

Vogue published an article entitled, “Why It’s Time to Believe Amber Heard,” in which its author stated, “Though I’ve felt myself veering toward it, I can no longer ‘both sides’ this. It’s time to draw a line. It’s time to believe women—all women. It’s time to believe Heard.” Again, a blanket declaration based on gender…not evidence. The idea that we should automatically believe an accuser whose claims can destroy lives is a precedent I do not care to set. I’m a lawyer, and I believe in evidence. To quote Johnny Depp himself, I hope that “the position will now return to innocent until proven guilty, both within the courts and in the media.”

Even Monica Lewinsky got involved in an article for Vanity Fair, in which she deemed the trial a “celebrity circus” and challenged us to be far less cruel to Amber Heard, given Monica’s own unfair experience with the media. Lewinsky also admitted to not having watched the trial in full. Personally, I’d advise Lewinsky to no longer write articles on legal trials if she hasn’t watched said legal trials. Furthermore, I’d challenge her to explain to me how we’re supposed to talk about Amber Heard, if not with cruelty? If she were a man who beat up his wife over and over again, would she still encourage us to treat him with a little more kindness? No one treated Chris Brown with kindness after he assaulted Rihanna.

Heard herself tried to capitalize on the culture after her loss, stating that “It sets back the clock to a time when a woman who spoke up and spoke out could be publicly shamed and humiliated. It sets back the idea that violence against women is to be taken seriously.” This is an interesting sentiment, because it ignores violence against men. Should that be taken seriously? She also stated that she believes “Johnny’s attorneys succeeded in getting the jury to overlook the key issue of Freedom of Speech.” This argument also fails on its face, as Freedom of Speech comes with restrictions. Even those of us who did not go to law school know that you cannot scream fire in a crowded theater, nor can you defame people. Lies that destroy one’s reputation are not “protected” speech. Also, Amber Heard is a hypocrite. When Johnny Depp’s very close friend, Doug Stanhope, wrote an article in defense of Depp on the heels of Heard’s initial allegations, she sued him for defamation. So what about Doug’s Freedom of Speech, Amber?

It would be easy to chalk up Johnny Depp’s relationship with Amber Heard to mutual toxicity as so many in the media have. It would be easy to say they “both beat each other up” and to diminish the trial as a circus. No one wants to believe that a woman lied about domestic violence and sexual assault for revenge. No one wants to listen to the tapes of Amber Heard admitting to beating up her husband. No one wants to look at the photos of Johnny Depp with a black eye and a severed finger and believe that his wife attacked him. No one wants to believe that a human being would set out to obliterate another person’s reputation, on top of having already physically abused them. Who could possibly be that evil?

This case was not a spectacle, a circus, or a voyeur’s delight. It was a man fighting for his life back with a supervised trial as his last available option. Unless the public saw the evidence with their own eyes and listened to Amber Heard’s testimony with their own ears, Johnny Depp would be forever, unjustly tarnished.

I would encourage the media and the public at large to either watch every minute of the trial or not comment on it. These jurors devoted a lot of time and energy to this case, and they determined that Amber Heard lied on the stand. Almost every incident of violence alleged by Amber Heard had witnesses present, and every single witness contradicted her testimony. Furthermore, there are a plethora of pictures after each alleged incident of violence that directly impeach her testimony. The only person with visible injuries and hospital records is Johnny Depp. Lastly, I watched Amber Heard testify on the stand and she was not a credible witness. I understand that not all victims of domestic violence will behave the way we think they should behave, but I also understand what a liar looks like — and I believe Amber Heard is a liar.

For more on the trial, listen to my podcast below.

Kim Kardashian Settles Blogger Lawsuit For Claiming Marriage Was Staged

For defamation cases, there’s only one way to get sued — if you lie. Sure there’s a few more elements they taught us in law school — but if I told you what they were I’d get post-law-school-PTSD and break out in hives. So when Jonathan Jaxson claimed to have it on personal authority that Kim Kardashian’s marriage was staged, I thought, “He’s gotta be telling the truth. No one is stupid enough to openly expose themselves to such an easy defamation case, right? Apparently, he was that stupid. He settled with Kardashian, and that settlement included a public apology. Might I add that Kim Kardashian has turned into quite the shark? I’m moderately impressed.

What is Defamation & Why Didn’t Ashton Kutcher Sue?

At the time Star Magazine published their story about how Ashton Kutcher cheated on Demi Moore, Kutcher tweeted that Star Magazine defamed his character and he threatened to sue. This isn’t the first time celebrities have sued or threatened to sue tabloids for defamation of character. So what is defamation, and why doesn’t every celebrity sue?

The first thing to understand about defamation is that celebrities can’t sue anyone who airs their dirty laundry if it’s true. When celebrities and other public figures sue for defamation, they can only win if they prove that the defamatory statement is false.

Oh what’s that you say? What is a defamatory statement? Great question. It is a statement about the celebrity which hurts his reputation. The statement must also be communicated to a person other than the celebrity himself. (So if Star Magazine called Ashton at his house and accused him of cheating, they’d be in the clear — because no one else heard it).

Given the above explanation, it doesn’t seem like it should be so hard for Ashton to prove his case against Star Magazine, right? They published the story — “Ashton Kutcher Caught Cheating…” — to the world and it makes Ashton sound like an unfaithful jerk. And of course it’s false – that Jamie Madrox look-alike would never cheat on G.I. Jane, right?

But there’s one more catch — as a public figure, Ashton must prove that Star Magazine published the statement with full knowledge that the statement was false or with reckless disregard for whether it was true or false. Sure, they probably knew they were lying and they probably do it all the time. But how is Ashton going to prove it in court?

It is hard for him to come up with photos of him NOT kissing girls. He would have to get someone from Star to blow up their own journalistic spot and say, “yeah, I knew it wasn’t true and I wrote it anyway.”

If you’ve been following my analysis, you might have come to one of two conclusions to the title of this post. Either the case is just too hard to win, or Ashton really did cheat and can’t sue a tabloid for reporting the truth.  So which one is it?  I have no idea, but you’re free to draw your own conclusions.

In closing, I’d like to proclaim that everything I didn’t already know, I learned from The Dishmaster.

Ashton Kutcher Sues Vivid Over Sex Tape Claim? — Something Smells Fishy, Ashton

Ashton Kutcher’s alleged mistress is selling a sex tape and it’s being promoted as “the girl who had sex with Ashton Kutcher.” Kutcher is suing, claiming that this “infringes on his celebrity value.” Allow me to put this lawyer thing to use and explain why Ashton Kutcher’s handling of this has become mighty suspicious. First, when he was initially accused of having an affair with this woman by Star Magazine, he threatened to sue for defamation — but he never did. The problem with suing for defamation is that in order for Kutcher to have a case, the accusation has to be false. So the fact that Kutcher never sued leads me to believe that the information is true, and he therefore knew he wouldn’t win. Got it? That brings me to my next point. A small part of me thought Kutcher didn’t sue because, despite his oodles of cash, he simply didn’t feel like it. After all, does anyone believe Star Magazine anyways? Why waste money on a frivolous lawsuit, right? But here’s where it gets suspicious. As soon as this girl released a sex tape claiming that she’s the person who had sex with Kutcher, he decided to sue. Why? I suspect it’s because he finally found a case he can win. He’s not suing for defamation, he’s suing for “using his celebrity name” to promote a product. It’s sort of a smart move that I don’t think anyone but myself would catch. He can win the lawsuit, and the suit lets the public think he’s finally standing up for himself.  Just a theory though.  I’ve asked my friend to write a guest post on defamation to explain this further, so we’ll see if I ever get it.  Are you reading this, mystery friend?

Dina Lohan Needs to Lighten Up — Pissed at Glee

The first thing Lindsay Lohan needs to do when she exits rehab is fire her mother, Dina Lohan, as her manager.  She perpetuates Lindsay’s negative image in the press, by continually discussing her daughter’s issues.  Lindsay would have a much better chance of rehabilitating (no pun intended) her career if her mother would zip-it.  On this week’s Glee, Gwyneth Paltrow’s character discussed Lindsay’s rehab stints while teaching her Spanish class.  The bit was funny, and Lohan’s camp should laugh it off.  Unfortunately for Lindsay, her camp includes her horrendous mother, who is threatening to sue Glee for defamation.  Allow me to put this esquire thing to use for just one second — it’s not defamation to call someone “loca.”  So get over it Dina. Watch the clip below to see what all the fuss is about.

Kim Kardashian Parties With Perez for Her Birthday — Did she Forgive Him?

There’s something very interesting about the photos from Kim Kardashian’s 30th birthday party — Perez Hilton is there.  Perez Hilton has often bashed the Kardashian sisters on his blog, once going so far as to call Khloe Kardashian an “ugly amazon.”  So does she have a forgiving heart, or is she hoping to stay close to Perez to keep her name on his website?  I surmise it’s the latter.  And the Kardashians aren’t alone.  Demi Moore once threatened to sue Perez for child pornography when he posted pictures of her young daughter’s ass on his website.  Perez then countered with a defamation threat.  You wouldn’t guess that by the twitter love between the two.  Demi posted a twit-pic of herself in a bikini, and Perez responded with a pic of himself a speedo.  Demi playfully retweeted his pic, saying, “I think I started a trend.”  Did she forgive him too?  And what about Lindsay Lohan?  Perez often attacks her on his site, yet Lohan had no problem attending his birthday bash, and getting her picture taken with him.  Nothing says forgiveness like getting your name mentioned on a high-traffic blog.

Broadway Star Sues Over Crabs Allegation — At Least It’s Not Herpes

Broadway star Marty Thomas is trying to locate the evil tweeter that wrongfully divulged his case of crabs on the social networking site.  According to Thomas, he has never had a sexually transmitted disease, and the allegation has a negative effect on his career.  First of all, since crabs isn’t permanent, is this reaction really warranted?  When I first read the story I thought, wow, that really sucks for him, I guess he’ll have to shave all his pubes off.  I’m not sure that’s the kind of thought process that warrants a defamation law suit.  At least the evil tweeter had the courtesy to think of a curable disease.