DAN WOOTTON: Johnny Depp is not a victim of cancel culture

DAN WOOTTON: Johnny Depp is not a victim of cancel culture – he’s spent years trying to cancel Amber Heard (and me). This farce of a trial is designed to ruin his ex-wife but won’t erase the damning judgment against him

After dragging my ass through the High Court for two years, which resulted in a humiliating loss for him and complete vindication for me, I genuinely intended to never talk about Johnny Depp again.

I actually feel sorry for the former Hollywood icon who has become a pathetic excuse of a man.

A human being with so much – all the money in the world, access to the most influential people, children who love him, fans who will stick with him through literally any form of documented and provably bad behaviour, including abuse of a female partner – has become consumed with an overwhelming and uncontrollable desire for revenge at any cost.

Dan Wootton with Amber Heard. His reporting was backed by a November 2020 court ruling

Dan Wootton with Amber Heard. His reporting was backed by a November 2020 court ruling 

Ruining his ex-wife Amber Heard is his goal, no matter how much it costs, how many lives it destroys and how much it taints his own reputation forever more.

But after watching the vile court case develop in the US over the past couple of weeks, I feel morally compelled to speak out.

Because a completely incorrect narrative is developing that Depp is somehow the victim of cancel culture ­­– a vile trend spreading like a plague through the western world that I deplore and spend my professional life campaigning against.

The suggestion is farcical, given this entire mess is of Depp’s own making.

If anything, he cancelled himself!

In April 2018, the now infamous column I wrote in my former newspaper The Sun, which referred to the actor as a ‘wife beater’ in an online headline, was actually about JK Rowling’s hypocrisy for backing Depp over Amber while claiming to be a proponent of the #MeToo movement.

   

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While I believed it to be an important piece of work, it would have been soon forgotten if he hadn’t insisted on suing me for reporting ‘overwhelming evidence was filed to show Johnny Depp engaged in domestic violence against his wife Amber Heard’.

To me, that was indisputable.

And in a November 2020 ruling, Judge Justice Nicol, who sat through 16 days of harrowing evidence at the Royal Courts of Justice in London, including from Depp and Heard themselves, agreed what I’d written was ‘substantially true’.

Specifically, he found that 12 of the 14 incidents of domestic violence by Depp against Amber had occurred.

In a damning conclusion, Justice Nicol wrote: ‘Taking all the evidence together, I accept that she was the victim of sustained and multiple assaults by Mr Depp in Australia.’

He added: ‘I accept her evidence of the nature of the assaults he committed against her. They must have been terrifying.’

Crucially, he also rejected claims by Depp that Amber is a ‘gold digger’.

So categorical was the verdict that Depp was later denied an appeal and ordered to pay my legal costs.

Any sane individual would have accepted the ruling and attempted to clean up their act and move on with their life, but Depp simply moved the sideshow to the US.

A completely incorrect narrative is developing that Depp is somehow the victim of cancel culture, Wootton writes

A completely incorrect narrative is developing that Depp is somehow the victim of cancel culture, Wootton writes 

He’s suing Amber for an article she wrote in The Washington Post that he says implied he was violent towards her, even though she never included his name in the column.

Depp is banking on celebrity justice because this is a jury trial, where his star power could influence the verdict.

And, once again, completely against her will, Amber is being forced to have the details of a toxic relationship she has long wanted to move on from make international headlines for weeks on end.

But it’s worse than what’s going on inside the courtroom.

Amber is being subjected to inhuman attacks by a group of sick individuals called the Deppheads, who have been on a sustained campaign to discredit her for years.

I know all too well how despicable these keyboard warriors are because they have relentlessly targeted me over the same period.

Just one example of their depravity I’ve experienced personally: Depp’s trolls spread the sick lie that I had been raped by a priest at a neighbouring school to mine in New Zealand, rendering me as sympathetic to Heard because I had been damaged by sexual abuse in my own life.

This sort of online campaign I remain subjected to even now pales into insignificance compared to the torment they unleash on Amber – a young mum facing bankruptcy and career ruin if she loses the case – every single day.

The Depphead cultists, who stalk the courtroom and issue regular death threats, have seen the Aquaman actress forced to increase her personal security.

Depp is banking on celebrity justice because this is a jury trial, where his star power could influence the verdict, writes Wootton (pic)

Depp is banking on celebrity justice because this is a jury trial, where his star power could influence the verdict, writes Wootton (pic)  

This trial has been an isolating experience for Amber, whose every facial expression and wardrobe choice is analysed, compared to Depp, who treats his court appearances like a rock concert where he’s greeted by giddy fans.

The Deppheads effectively use social media, especially Twitter and TikTok, to brand Heard as crazy, a sentiment they have helped make acceptable.

Amber was even attacked by these trolls online for wearing glasses in court as a sign of narcissism when, in fact, she needs them in order to read.

The Scottish activist Eve Barlow – one of Amber’s few champions in the media, who has been supporting her at the trial – correctly believes her friend is being re-traumatised.

She told me: ‘During Depp’s disastrous libel trial in the UK, the world learned that he promised ‘global humiliation’ for Amber Heard. By the way the US trial is being depicted in the media, it appears he has fulfilled his promise.

‘Not only does the media bias continue to be wholly imbalanced in favour of Depp, with notable omissions from press coverage about very damning pieces of evidence against him, the social media landscape is shockingly brutal for Amber, with TikTok and Twitter especially becoming insensitive and over-simplifying platforms prone to spreading disinformation and misogynist hate.

‘The live broadcast of this trial is highly dehumanising, and has resulted in obsessional nit-picking over Amber’s wardrobe every day, and her facial expressions, as she’s subjected to disproportionate criticism while Depp sits in court smiling, doodling and laughing with his counsel, backed by an army of vocal Twitter fans who are sat in the public gallery.

‘It’s a very re-traumatizing event, and one that has the power to affect other survivors of abuse.’

But it’s not only Amber’s pals who have noticed the horror of what she is being put through again.

Countdown star Rachel Riley, referring to Depp’s court loss against me, tweeted yesterday: ‘There has already been a judgment (so detailed it’s 129 pages long) showing Depp to be a monster.

‘How so many people can help him abuse his victim now is completely sickening. I can only imagine anyone defending him has not read this judgment, and hopes no one else has either. No one in their right mind could defend this man.’

On the last day of Depp’s trial against me in July 2020, Amber pleaded that she just wants to be allowed to ‘move on with her life’.

It is Depp who is refusing her that opportunity.

By the way, it’s laughable to suggest the bloke has been cancelled; he remains the face of Dior’s Sauvage, which is advertised on billboards everywhere, continues to be cast in movies, and has travelled the world being lauded at a host of film festivals.

The fact Rowling finally dropped him from the Fantastic Beasts franchise was more to do with her embarrassment for her ‘Hollywood hypocrisy’, which I first pointed out when I wrote my original column.

Johnny Depp is not a victim of cancel culture; he’s a proponent of it.

He tried to cancel me and failed in the London libel courts, and now he’s trying to cancel Amber Heard in the US.

Shame on him.