A member of Johnny Deppsecurity team claims he witnessed Amber Heard physically attack the actor. Travis McGivern, who has been Depp’s bodyguard for nearly a decade, testified Monday that Heard threw a can of Red Bull at Depp, spat at him and punched the Pirates of the Caribbean star in the face.
McGivern was the first witness called by Depp’s team on Monday. He appeared virtually and testified to the verbal abuse the actor suffered from Heard, telling the court that the actress would call Depp a ‘fucking dead dad’, ‘washed up’ and ‘f***ing c ** *.”
“You name it, she threw it up,” McGivern said. McGivern also claimed that Heard “degraded” him on one occasion because she “cast a shadow over me and the career I had chosen”.
McGivern witnessed one of 14 times Heard claims she was abused by Depp – except he told the court it was the exact opposite.
The incident in question happened on March 23, 2015, two weeks after the couple broke up in Australia, where Depp says Heard cut his fingertip. McGivern saw Heard throw a can of Red Bull at Depp, hitting him in the back. Depp was “angry and agitated”, according to McGivern, and “gave everything he got” verbally.
“At one point she spat on him,” McGivern said, adding that he saw “just a lot of verbal vitriol from the two of them.”
Depp was so upset that he “reorganized” Heard’s closet, throwing out all the clothes racks. He threw some of Heard’s items down the stairs.
“He was upset,” McGivern recalled.
Things escalated when Heard supposedly decorated Depp. McGivern said he was next to the actor, and all of a sudden he saw “the actress’ arm fall over my right shoulder.”
“I heard and saw a clenched fist make contact with Mr. Depp on the left side of his face,” McGivern said. “It was Amber Heard’s fist.”
As for Depp’s reaction, McGivern said: “The initial look on his face kind of mirrored mine, kind of shock. What just happened?”
McGivern said Depp had a “nice little minnow” and the side of the actor’s face was “definitely swollen and red.” McGivern testified that at no time did Depp physically respond and attack Heard. After the punch, McGivern said he got Depp out of the former couple’s Los Angeles penthouse.
“My job is to keep my clients safe and well-being, and I felt like I didn’t do that,” he said. Depp agreed, telling McGivern at the time that the minnow was his fault.
When asked by Depp’s attorney how many times he had seen Heard physically abuse the actor, McGivern asked how that should be defined. He said on “several occasions” he saw Heard physically trying to stop Depp from leaving the room during arguments.
McGivern also testified that Depp used drugs, saying he saw the actor smoking marijuana “on a daily basis.” He said Depp is “cool” when he’s stoned. McGivern has seen Depp do cocaine “a few” times, but overall the actor had a high tolerance for alcohol and substances.
During cross-examination, Heard’s legal team tried to convince McGivern to change his story. He did not do it.
Whitney Heard witnessed part of the March 23, 2015 fight and is expected to testify on behalf of her sister. McGivern was asked if, in fact, Depp pushed Whitney and that’s why Heard stepped in and punched him. McGivern said that was “absolutely” untrue.
“[Depp] caught Amber’s hair as he tried to hit her with that cast?” Heard’s attorney Ben Rottenborn asked.
“That’s not correct,” McGivern replied.
Heard’s lawyers are trying to paint the picture that many of Depp’s witnesses are on the actor’s payroll. McGivern said he still works part-time for Depp.
Depp sues Heard for defamation on a 2018 op-ed she wrote in the Washington Post. Essentially, the rest of the day was spent by Depp’s legal team arguing that the actor’s career was killed by his ex-wife’s article.
Talent agent Jack Whigham testified that Depp’s reputation throughout his decades-long career was positive before Heard’s allegations. He found the actor to be “artistic, polite, very caring” and exhibited “genuine kindness”. Depp was “highly regarded and respected” in the entertainment industry and considered “extremely talented”.
Whigham argued that Depp was still wanted by filmmakers after Heard first made domestic violence allegations in 2016. Depp booked major studio films like Murder on the Orient Expressin which he was paid $10 million, and Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald raise $13.3 million. As of 2017, Depp still had a relationship with Disney, according to Whigham, and the actor was set to earn $22.5 million to Pirates of the Caribbean 6. (On cross-examination, Whigham admitted that there was no formal contract, but that the agreement was verbal.)
Heard’s December 2018 op-ed “was devastating” for the actor, Whigham told the court. The agent was particularly taken aback by the online headline: “I spoke out against sexual violence – and faced the wrath of our culture. This needs to change.”
“It was kind of shocking, I remember, because it was the first time I heard the allegation of sexual abuse,” Whigham recalled. He said the fact that the article was a first-person account of Heard made it “extremely impactful”.
After the editorial was published, Whigham said it was “very, very difficult” to keep some of Depp’s planned films together. He couldn’t book studio films for the actor.
“After the editorial, it was impossible to get him a studio film, which is what we would normally have focused on during this time,” he said. He denied that the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 had such an impact, as his company “still does business on behalf of bigger stars”.
During cross-examination, Whigham admitted that “there was a bad trend” that Depp could be cut from Pirates 6 before the editorial was published, but that they “still had hope” it would work because producer Jerry Bruckheimer wanted the movie star. Whigham said he learned days after the op-ed was published that Depp would not be returning as Captain Jack Sparrow.
Richard Marks, a technical forensic analyst with 50 years in the entertainment industry, was called as an expert witness for Depp.
“I was asked to bring my years of experience in the entertainment industry and look at the damage the 2018 editorial created in Johnny Depp’s career,” he told the court. “The editorial damaged Mr. Depp, created a cancellation situation if you will, damaged his reputation and his ability to find work in the Hollywood industry.
Marks said the #MeToo movement has changed the way Hollywood does business in that the victim now gets the benefit of the doubt.
“Before the #MeToo movement, that moral clause was fading,” Marks said. “The moral clause has returned and it’s a required feature in every entertainment employment contract because studios want that verbiage, they want those rights so they can act quickly and decisively on a claim.”
Marks said studios don’t want to hire actors with negative publicity and that Disney, the home of pirate franchise, is a family brand.
“You could say Pirates of the Caribbean is Johnny Depp and vice versa,” he explained. “It’s a star impact.”
When it comes to a star’s reputation, “diva drugs and behavior” are generally acceptable in the industry, in Marks’ expert opinion, but being “cancelled” is not. Heard’s legal team hammered Marks in cross-examination, showing that there were very many negative press articles about the actor before Heard’s op-ed.
“I agree there was negative publicity before the editorial,” Marks said. “There’s definitely Johnny Depp, negative behavior there.”
Intellectual property consultant Douglas Bania testified as another expert witness. He analyzed Google Trends, Google Search results and Q scores indicating that Depp’s reputation had been hit after allegations of abuse in 2016. Depp’s Q score, which measures a star’s likeability, has further dropped after the editorial.
“The public perception of Mr. Depp has been damaged,” Bania said. “They like him less.”
Heard’s attorney, Adam Nadelhaft, pointed to inconsistencies between Bania’s previous deposition and his testimony in an effort to discredit the witness. Nadelhaft pointed out that there were other articles in 2018 – like The sun‘s”wife drummertitle – which could have impacted Depp’s Q Score.
Depp’s team will likely end their case on Tuesday after further testimony. Although it was reported that Heard would be the first witness for the defense, Yahoo Entertainment has learned that this is no longer the case. Dr. Dawn M. Hughes, clinical and forensic psychologist, will speak first.
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