Johnny Depp Suffers Another Loss to Amber Heard in Ongoing Defamation Fight

It looks like Amber Heard's legal team came up with a smart defense against Johnny Depp's $50 million libel lawsuit. Depp sued his ex after she wrote an op-ed in 2018 on her experience speaking out against domestic violence. Heard has accused Depp of abuse during their brief marriage and though she didn't mention Depp by name in the article, many believe she's speaking directly about him throughout the piece. A judge has ruled that Heard can argue to a jury that she should be protected from Depp's libel lawsuit because her op-ed, which was featured in The Washington Post, deals with a matter of public interest. The ruling came on Thursday, March 24, 2022. The case is set to take place on April 11.

Depp's lawyers sought a ruling that would block Heard from arguing that she was speaking about matters of public interest, per Yahoo News. The legal team argued that the law that facilitates this defense is not designed to be used in private cases. Regarding Heard's article, Depp's legal team alleged that the op-ed was an "abuse of the #MeToo movement" and claimed Heard "masquerades as a victim rather than the abuser."

In the op-ed, Heard said that she was vilified in the media and from social media users once her allegations of abuse became public."For months, I rarely left my apartment, and when I did, I was pursued by camera drones and photographers on foot, on motorcycles and in cars," the Aquaman star wrote. "Tabloid outlets that posted pictures of me spun them in a negative light. I felt as though I was on trial in the court of public opinion."

More than anything, she feared being blackballed for speaking out. "Friends and advisers told me I would never again work as an actress — that I would be blacklisted," she wrote. "A movie I was attached to recast my role. I had just shot a two-year campaign as the face of a global fashion brand, and the company dropped me. Questions arose as to whether I would be able to keep my role of Mera in the movies 'Justice League' and 'Aquaman.'"

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She was granted a restraining order against Depp amid their divorce proceedings. The divorce was finalized in 2017.