Johnny Depp has revealed he has quit his Fantastic Beasts role after losing Amber Heard ‘wife-beater’ trial – but has vowed to appeal and ‘prove allegations against him are false’
Depp, 57, was branded a ‘monster’ by a judge who said he DID beat Amber 12 times as he lost his £5million libel trial against The Sun.
But in a bombshell statement posted last night he said: ‘I have been asked to resign by Warner Bros from my role in Grindewald in Fantastic Beasts and I have respected and agreed to that request.’
He now faces a desperate battle to salvage his career after losing his blockbuster libel case and being labelled a wife beater, according to a top celebrity crisis management expert.
Mark Borkowski said for the 57-year-old to resume his career would be the equivalent of ‘climbing Mt Everest without oxygen, barefoot and in his underpants’.
He said: ‘His reputation is in tatters. Having lost this libel case he will always be known as a wife beater. Whenever he is interviewed by a journalist, he will be asked about this and if he is a wife beater.
‘It does not get any worse for him. Hollywood is very corporate and risk adverse with its money. Those making film franchises will not want to take the risk. This is a personal disaster for him. For him to come back will be the equivalent of climbing Mt Everest without oxygen, in his underpants and barefoot. That’s how hard it will be.’
Depp posted a statement on Instagram saying he would appeal the decision and confirming he had resigned from the film
Johnny Depp (right), 57, today lost his bitter High Court fight with Amber Heard (left) and The Sun newspaper. The court found Depp was ‘wife beater’ following a sensational 16-day trial which lifted the lid on the fallen Hollywood icon’s chaotic lifestyle
Borkowski, whose clients include Noel Edmunds and Led Zeppelin star Jimmy Page, said Depp’s one hope was his huge worldwide fan base who will support him despite the verdict in the High Court.
‘Don’t write him off just yet. He is still very popular, so I would never say never that he will come back. He has a huge fan base who will still support him.’
‘There is also the #MeToo movement and Hollywood is engaged in a cultural war. He might not get involved in the big blockbusters, but there are also smaller independent films.
Borkowski questioned the decision by Depp bring the case against The Sun newspaper.
‘I am sure he now regrets bringing this case but he obviously felt it was necessary.’
Other reputation management experts agreed that Depp faces the end of his career.
Troubled: In his ruling the judge found Depp had attacked his ex-wife Heard a dozen times and said he accepted that the Pirates of the Caribbean actor became a ‘monster’ when he binged on drink and drugs (pictured in January 2016)
Emotional: Amber Heard hugged her family outside her LA home on Monday after hearing the Johnny Depp verdict:after judge branded her ex husband ‘a monster’ who DID beat her 12 times as he lost his £5m ‘wife-beater’ libel trial
Steven Heffer, Head of Media and Privacy at law firm Collyer Bristow said: ‘Depp’s strategy was high risk and has proved an absolute disaster. It is often best not to risk all for these sort of legal cases. A better approach may have been to publish a public statement denying the allegations.
‘That would have left question marks but would have avoided the disaster scenario. Nobody can be forced to bring a libel claim, and given the stormy background of the relationship it was probably unwise to do so.
‘Unfortunately for Depp, it is highly likely to have been a career-ending decision. What it does mean is that the future of the other legal actions is uncertain.’
Depp still faces a hearing in the America where he is suing his former wife for £39m in a defamation suit following a 2018 article for The Washington Post where she discussed domestic violence.
Depp had hoped a victory in the High Court in London would bolster his case which is not likely to be heard until 2021.
Amber Melville- Brown from law firm Withers said the libel defeat could see Depp drop the defamation suit.
She said: ‘Johnny and Amber are set to meet again in the courts of Virginia, USA in May 2021 regarding a comment piece she wrote in the Washington Post – a piece that he says means that he is violent towards women.
‘Not only will the extensive evidence in the case ‘over here’ be dissected by the attorneys ‘over there’ but this judgment may stop the US proceedings in its tracks.
‘While the accusations may be slightly different, the legal systems are even more so, and the burden of proof on the defendant in the label courts of England and Wales is much higher than it is in the US.
‘Accordingly, Depp’s failure to convince a British judge to that higher standard may sink the American libel ship of Hollywood’s most famous pirate of the Caribbean.’
Phil Hall, who runs the PHA Group, said the only way back for Depp was to admit his mistakes.
He said: ‘There has to be a mea culpa and clean himself up, get off drink and drunks and show that he has changed. If he doesn’t do that then his career could be over.