The on-going legal battle between actor Johnny Depp, known for numerous roles such as Captain Jack Sparrow and more recently, the villain Grindelwald in the Fantastic Beasts franchise, and his ex-wife Amber Heard, who recently starred as Mera in Aquaman has been one of the most controversial topics in Hollywood for the last several years.
Now, Depp has spoken about the movie industry's apparent blacklisting of him.
The legal row began following a brief marriage, when Heard filed for divorce and accused Depp of domestic violence. Depp denied the claims consistently, and claimed that Heard simply used the accusations as a tactic to get a fast out-of-court resolution. This did happen, as Heard retracted the claims following a $7 million payment.
Subsequent accounts given by sources close to the Heard and Depp painted a different story, with claims that Heard was the one committing domestic violence rather than Depp, and that the actress was also abusive towards assistants and employees. The legal battle between the former couple continues, however despite the case not being clear cut, Depp seems to have suffered more for the allegations.
Removed from the Fantastic Beasts franchise to be replaced by Mads Mikkelsen, his most recent film Minamata has also been delayed by MGM. Depp has also sued various publications that covered the legal situation one-sidedly, but lost a libel case against The Sun after the paper referred to him as a "wife-beater". Depp has appealed the ruling.
In an interview regarding the new film, Minamata, Depp has spoken out about the apparent boycott that followed the lawsuits.
[...]And for anything... For Hollywood’s boycott of me? One man, one actor in an unpleasant and messy situation, over the last number of years?
But, you know, I’m moving towards where I need to go to make all that... To bring things to light.
Minamata, directed by Andrew Levitas is a movie focusing on the mercury poisoning cases on Japan's coast during the 70's, with Depp appearing as American photojournalist W. Eugene Smith. No premiere date has been given for the film yet, with Depp's involvement apparently hindering release.
One of the requirements of the original $7 million settlement with Heard was that the actress had to donate the sum in full to the ACLU, which as revealed by a recent court ruling has not happened. This sole legal victory is one among many losses for Depp, who continues to fight in court to prove his innocence.
Many have raised their voice in support of Depp following the accusations of violence and abuse that were pointed at Heard, with fans starting petitions to have the actress removed from the DCEU and her role as Mera, while also petitioning Disney to bring the Jack Sparrow character back to Pirates of the Caribbean with Depp reprising the role.
The case has received a great deal of attention internationally, and not just because of the fame of the two professionals involved. In an age where more and more voices are being raised against the rampant abuse of power by privileged males, it's important that this doesn't turn into yet another case where a rich and famous man gets away with violence. However, the allegations raised against Heard are cause for concern, and should Depp be innocent as he claims, they must also be investigated in full.
We hope that the entire truth can come out eventually and justice served.