Posted by Simon Bassett, Partner
Does Johnny Depp hold trump card in abuse allegations?
Johnny Depp is to sue his ex-wife Amber Heard for $50m (£38m) claiming her allegations of abuse are an ‘elaborate hoax’ as he seeks to restore his reputation. Solicitor Charlotte Ebbutt looks at this case in more detail.
The allegations are likely to mean he missed out on a number of major movie roles as his reputation was shredded. It looks as though Depp has a very strong hand and a high chance of success of securing considerable damages including the possible return of his divorce settlement.
Depp may have a trump card in this action: before being given the role in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald he met JK Rowling and had to satisfy her that these allegations were entirely false. Those documents – and the 80 or more CCTV images he claims to have showing no signs of abuse – will be invaluable.
The case is also likely to go the distance, with every detail poured over by the US courts. Given the allegations made, Depp is likely to believe that his reputation can suffer no further and can only be restored.
Amber Heard, however, is likely to face reputational and financial ruin. She may find that her $7m divorce settlement, which was agreed out of court and has been given to charity, may be questioned with Depp looking to revisit.
The case also brings into sharp focus the #metoo movement.
Hollywood has since Harvey Weinstein taken an ultra-cautious approach to allegations of abuse. This is now likely to change. A balanced view and open discussions towards potentially career ending allegations are needed and are likely to follow.
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