Washington Post Adds Editor’s Note To Amber Heard Op-Ed After Defamation Verdict
The opinion piece at the center of the explosive Amber Heard and Johnny Depp trial now bears an editor’s note stating that a court ruled the op-ed to be defamatory against Depp.
The piece, headlined “I spoke up against sexual violence — and faced our culture’s wrath. That has to change” was published under Heard’s byline in 2018. It did not mention Depp, her ex-husband, by name. However, it was widely understood that her references to being abused were about their relationship.
Depp sued Heard for defamation and on Wednesday, a Virginia court ruled primarily in his favor, finding that three statements in her op-ed were defamatory and awarding Depp $15 million in damages, though that amount was then capped at around $10 million due to state law.
The next day, the Post affixed an editor’s note to the top of the op-ed outlining in detail which statements had been found defamatory:
Editor’s note, June 2, 2022: In 2019, Johnny Depp sued Amber Heard for defamation arising out of this 2018 op-ed. On June 1, 2022, following a trial in Fairfax County, Va. Circuit Court, a jury found Heard liable on three counts for the following statements, which Depp claimed were false and defamatory: (1) “I spoke up against sexual violence — and faced our culture’s wrath. That has to change.” (2) “Then two years ago, I became a public figure representing domestic abuse, and I felt the full force of our culture’s wrath for women who speak out.” (3) “I had the rare vantage point of seeing, in real time, how institutions protect men accused of abuse.” The jury separately found that Depp, through his lawyer Adam Waldman, defamed Heard in one of three counts in her countersuit.
Legal analyst Emily D. Baker told People it was a good decision to add a note, rather than removing the piece from its website.
“Because this case is so watched and commented on, I think the op-ed is still needed for context,” she said. “I appreciate that they put up the notice rather than take the op-ed down. And I appreciate that they included, with specificity, exactly the statements that were found to be defamatory.”
Though Depp won his case in the U.S., he lost in 2020 in the United Kingdom when he sued newspaper “The Sun” for calling him a “wife beater.” In that case, a judge found that Heard’s accusations of abuse were “substantially true” and that most of the violent incidents she alleged had been “proved to the civil standard.”
Heard has said she plans to appeal the verdict in Depp’s suit against her.