Johnny Depp took a huge hit in court on Monday morning after it was ruled a newspaper had “substantial” evidence to label the “Fantastic Beasts” star as a “wife beater.” The shock decision was announced by Justice Andrew Nicol of Britain’s High Court after Depp filed a libel suit against News Group Newspapers, the publisher of UK tabloid, The Sun, and its executive editor, over an April 2018 article that accused the actor of assaulting his then-wife, Amber Heard, during their tumultuous marriage.
The legal showdown in the UK, which included on-record testimony from both Depp and The Sun’s star witness, Amber Heard, sparked global headlines as everyone waited to see what the final ruling was.
On Monday, Judge Nicol said he believes The Sun had enough evidence to label Depp as a “wife beater,” and that the allegations appeared to be “substantially true.”
“I have reached these conclusions having examined in detail the 14 incidents on which the defendants rely, as well as the over-arching considerations which the claimant submitted I should take into account,” the judge stated in a written decision.
Some of the allegations Amber Heard made against Johnny Depp had to do with the actor allegedly head-butting and tearing out “clumps” of her hair during vicious arguments that Heard claimed spiraled into physical abuse.
After the victory in court, The Sun said in a statement:
“The Sun has stood up and campaigned for the victims of domestic abuse for over 20 years. Domestic abuse victims must never be silenced and we thank the judge for his careful consideration and thank Amber Heard for her courage in giving evidence to the court.”
Amber Heard’s attorneys also took a victory lap in a statement that read:
“For those of us present for the London High Court trial, this decision and judgment are not a surprise.”
Johnny Depp and his legal team have not yet released a reaction to the ruling, but the “Pirate of the Caribbean” star’s loyal fanbase is doing the talking for him by lamenting on social media about the outcome of the libel case.
“I can’t believe Johnny Depp lost? Wtf?” one fan wrote in astonishment.
“Johnny Depp was DENIED justice by a judge that essentially said
BELIEVE ALL ACCUSATIONS. He attacked the credibility of anyone, the police included, that opposed Amber Heard while accepting EVERYTHING she said,” another supporter wrote.
“Amber Heard got away from being punished for physically and mentally abusing Johnny Depp. I feel bad for actual men who have been abused and watching this case closely. It says to them even if you have evidence a woman’s words mean more. It’s disgusting!!!” a steadfast Depp supporter wrote.
Although Johnny Depp took an “L” in the UK court, his legal team is not done fighting and has vowed to appeal the High Court’s decision.
“This decision is as perverse as it is bewildering,” Depp’s law firm said in a statement after the ruling. They added that, “The judgment is so flawed that it would be ridiculous for Mr Depp not to appeal this decision.”
Depp’s lawyers are also hoping for a different outcoming in his defamation case against Heard in the United States, which is still ongoing.
“In the meantime, we hope that in contrast to this case, the ongoing libel proceedings in America are equitable, with both parties providing full disclosure rather than one side strategically cherry picking what evidence can and cannot be relied upon,” Depp’s team announced.