When asked about Johnny Depp’s performance at the VMAs, Amber Heard didn’t have much to say. According to a source close to the Aquaman actress, she was not surprised by the cameo after her sister publicly called out MTV on Instagram.
According to Hollywood Life, Amber wasn’t “particularly shocked” by Johnny’s attendance because she had heard reports that he would attend the prestigious awards presentation. The contrast was that Whitney “was furious over the whole thing and felt the need to say something.”
According to the source, Amber appreciated her sister’s support and “wasn’t surprised Whitney spoke up because she knows her sister will always have her back. Whitney still can’t believe Johnny is being placed on this pedestal and she feels awful for her sister.”
On August 29, 2022, Whitney posted to Instagram, “@MTV, you’re disgusting and desperate! I really hope that none of the people that made this call have daughters…” She also shared a graphic depicting the VMAs with a “D” in front to spell “DVMAS,” an acronym for “Domestic Violence Myth Acceptance Scale.”
Johnny’s face was placed onto a model of the awards show mascot, and he made a prerecorded appearance on MTV’s Video Music Awards as the Moonman. On June 1, 2022, when Johnny sued Amber for $50 million for defamation, he prevailed in court.
Amber’s op-ed describing her experiences with domestic abuse, published in The Washington Post in 2018, was the impetus for the trial. The editorial does not identify any specific individuals. Though many assumed the essay was about her marriage to Johnny, he claimed it cost him acting roles because of the op-ed.
The jury decided that Amber must pay Johnny $15 million: $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages. Judge Penney Azcarate lowered Amber’s punitive damages from $5 million to $350,000 due to the cap on punitive damages under Virginia state law.
The jury found Johnny guilty of defamation on one count and awarded Amber $2 million in compensatory damages and zero dollars in punitive damages. Suppose Johnny and Amber’s respective damage awards are netted. In that case, Johnny will be entitled to $2 million in compensatory damages from Amber, for $8.35 million.
Amber and her attorneys attempted to argue for a mistrial because a jury member had committed misconduct. Documents obtained by sources reveal attorneys’ contention that “based on newly discovered facts and information that Juror No. 15 was not the individual summoned for jury duty on April 11, 2022.”
They tried to get the entire judgement thrown out because, they say, Johnny’s monetary award was “excessive” and “indefensible.” The judge, however, would not agree to the mistrial.
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