Reflections on the Johnny Depp-Amber Heard trial

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Published Jun 10, 2022, 10:00 AM

Synopsis: Each month, The Straits Times examines the ins and outs of pop culture in the Asian entertainment and Hollywood scene.

The verdict of the defamation trial between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard was announced recently. The former couple have been in an ugly legal battle since Heard called herself a "public figure representing domestic abuse" in a 2018 op-ed. Depp sued her for defamation and Heard countersued him. A seven-man jury found both Depp and Heard liable for defamation but awarded significantly more in damages to Depp in what is considered a win for the 59-year-old actor.

#PopVultures host Jan Lee shares her shock at how the trial's jury was not sequestered during such high-profile proceedings. She shares her experience of watching the trial and people's reactions to it unfolding, as well as the rampant misinformation online she has seen about the case, with fake quotes, false claims and headlines being floated around as fact. She also spotlights why Hollywood had been reluctant to work with Depp even prior to Heard's op-ed. 

Highlights (tap/click above):

03:31 First reactions to the trial - why was the jury not sequestered? 

09:10 Why the rhetoric used to attack Heard's testimony was harmful to victims of abuse and violence regardless of whether Heard was lying or not 

23:13 How easily people online have been swayed by blatant misinformation surrounding the trial

34:00 Our ability to accommodate nuance and grey areas

37:37 How Heard might fare in her career after the trial and whether she might still appear in the Aquaman sequel 

39:53 Why Depp's career is in decline and why Hollywood might remain reluctant to work with him even after the defamation trial awarded him a win 

Produced by Jan Lee (, Pax Pang and Eden Soh

Edited by: Pax Pang

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