The Sun 'deliberately misused' her quotes to defame Johnny Depp in libel trial, says actress, MeToo activist

The Sun article had labelled Johnny Depp a 'wife beater.'

FP Staff July 18, 2020 09:31:28 IST
The Sun 'deliberately misused' her quotes to defame Johnny Depp in libel trial, says actress, MeToo activist

Actress and #MeToo campaigner Katherine Kendall said on Friday she was deliberately “misquoted and misused” by Britain’s The Sun newspaper in an article which labelled Hollywood star Johnny Depp a “wife-beater”.

Depp is suing News Group Newspapers, publisher of The Sun, and the paper’s executive editor, Dan Wootton, at the High Court in London over the April 2018 article. He strongly denies abusing his former wife, Amber Heard.

(Also read on Firstpost: Amber Heard 'twisted' sexual assault story 'for own use,' claims ex-assistant at Johnny Depp libel trial)

In a written witness statement, Kendall said she spoke in April 2018 to a woman she later learned was a Sun reporter. She said she had been ”completely misquoted and misused by The Sun to accomplish their goal.”

Kendall was quoted in The Sun’s original article as saying: “I don’t stand behind hitting people or abusing people. It seems that Amber got hurt.”

The Sun article had mentioned Kendall’s advocacy for the #MeToo movement against sexual harassment and assault, and her accusations that disgraced movie producer Harvey Weinstein sexually harassed her.

“Although it was true that I was a victim of Harvey Weinstein, the rest was a lie,” Kendall said. “I was not ‘going public’ on behalf of #MeToo or myself, to criticize JK Rowling’s decision to cast Mr Depp, nor did I accuse Mr Depp of hurting Amber Heard, about which I have no first-hand knowledge.”

Kendall also said she had heard “several times” that Heard was abusive to Depp.

The Sun deliberately misused her quotes to defame Johnny Depp in libel trial says actress MeToo activist

Amber Heard and Johnny Depp. File image

(Also read on Firstpost: Johnny Depp denies claims of domestic violence against Amber Heard; a timeline of their legal battle)

Depp, 57, and Heard, 34, met on the set of the 2011 comedy The Rum Diary and married in Los Angeles in February 2015. Heard filed for divorce the following year, and the divorce was finalized in 2017.

The Sun’s defense relies on 14 allegations made by Heard of violence by Depp between 2013 and 2016, in settings including his private island in the Bahamas, a rented house in Australia and the couple’s downtown Los Angeles penthouse.

He denies them all and claims Heard was the aggressor during their volatile relationship, which he has likened to “a crime scene waiting to happen.”

In nine days of testimony at the High Court in London, judge Andrew Nicol has heard from Depp and from several current or former employees who have backed his version of events.

Before Kendall’s appearance, a friend of Amber Heard said one of Depp’s lawyers had pressured her to say unfavourable things about Heard in a US court declaration.

In her written statement, interior designer Laura Divenere stated she had not seen any injury to Heard in the days after Heard alleges Depp threw a phone which struck her face.

Asked by Sasha Wass, lawyer for The Sun’s publisher News Group Newspapers, if she had come under “enormous pressure” to make the declaration, Divenere said: “Correct”.

Earlier the court heard from Depp’s long-time friend, artist Isaac Baruch, who said a “distraught” Depp had come to see him in 2013, and told him Heard “likes to hit”, and that she would punch him after starting fights.

In his witness statement, Baruch said Depp had told him,“I don’t know what I’m gonna do, because I’m not gonna hit her, you know me I’m not gonna hit her, I love her.”

Baruch, who lived in one of the Los Angeles penthouses owned by Depp, also said Heard had no visible injuries in the days after she alleges that Depp threw a mobile phone during a heated argument in May 2016.

One of Depp’s security guards, Travis McGivern, said Friday that Heard spat at Depp and threw a can of energy drink Red Bull at him during an altercation at the couple’s Los Angeles penthouse in March 2015.

Heard claims that Depp hit her and pulled her hair, but McGivern said “this did not happen and at no point did Mr Depp hit Ms Heard.”

Two of Depp’s former romantic partners, Winona Ryder and Vanessa Paradis, have submitted witness statements saying they could not reconcile Heard’s accusations of violence with the kind and loving man they knew.

Heard is due to give her side of the story when she enters the witness box on Monday.

On Friday Alejandro Romero, a concierge at the Los Angeles building where Depp and Heard lived, testified that tech billionaire Elon Musk visited Heard “regularly late at night” from March 2015, while she was married to Depp.

Heard and the Tesla founder had a relationship after she and Depp separated.

The Sun’s lawyer suggested Romero had got the date wrong, but he said he remembered well because it was just after Depp had hurt his finger.

Depp’s fingertip was cut off while he and Heard were in Australia, where he was filming a Pirates of the Caribbean movie, in March 2015. Depp alleges that Heard severed it by throwing a vodka bottle at him, a claim she denies.

Romero said a friend of his was “a big fan of Mr Depp and he was concerned about him not being able to play the guitar. That’s how I remember, and then the same day I saw Mr. Musk.”

(With agency inputs)

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