A petition to remove Amber Heard from the upcoming Aquaman 2 has picked up a lot of traction online this week. Over the weekend, an audio clip was released that seemed to feature Heard admitting to "hitting" her ex-husband, Johnny Depp. Fans want to see Heard fired from her franchise, with many blaming her accusations for reports that Depp will no longer star in Pirates of the Caribbean films.
More than 146,000 people have signed a petition on Change.org to remove Heard from Aquaman 2 at the time of this writing. The petition is addressed to DC Entertainment and Warner Bros., and argues that Heard is a violent person not suitable for a family-friendly franchise.
"Since Heard's divorce from Johnny Depp, she has systematically crusaded to ruin Depp in Hollywood," the petition reads in part, "repeating multiple accounts of fake incidents in which she had actually abused Johnny Depp, but lied and created false accounts of him being the abuser."
This claim is based on an audio clip published by The Daily Mail this weekend and reportedly provided by Depp. In it, Heard admits to "hitting" Depp, but denies punching him.
"It's not true. It's not true. I'm not the one who throws pots and whatever the f—ing else at me," Depp says in the clip.
"I'm sorry that I didn't, uh, uh, hit you across the face in a proper slap, but I was hitting you, it was not punching you. Babe, you're not punched," Heard responds. "I don't know what the motion of my actual hand was, but you're fine, I did not hurt you, I did not punch you, I was hitting you."
While the recording does feature Heard admitting her fights with Depp "got physical," it also features Depp admitting to hitting her as well. In addition, Depp has not been formally fired from the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise and could still appear in future movies.
Depp also retained his role in the Fantastic Beasts franchise in spite of the legal battle between himself and Heard. Series writer and creator J.K. Rowling even personally vouched for Depp in a post on her blog.
"The agreements that have been put in place to protect the privacy of two people, both of whom have expressed a desire to get on with their lives, must be respected," she wrote in December of 2017. "Based on our understanding of the circumstances, the filmmakers and I are not only comfortable sticking with our original casting, but genuinely happy to have Johnny playing a major character in the movies."
Heard's lawyer, Roberta Kaplan also asked listeners to consider that Heard was speaking to her alleged abuser in the clip, and may have acted in self defense.
"The fact that a woman fights or talks back does not mean that she has not been the subject of repeated domestic violence and abuse," she said in a statement published by Newsweek. "It's a myth to say, as Mr. Depp apparently is implying, that if Ms. Heard slapped him, then she can't also be a victim. That is just not true."