Can Johnny Depp Sue Washington Post for Publishing Amber Heard's Article?

New York Culture

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The Depp v. Heard trial ended the other day with Johnny Depp winning $10.35 million against his ex-wife and Amber Heard winning $2 million against Depp, making it an $8.35 million judgment against Amber.

The jury sided with Johnny more than they sided with Amber money-wise, and they found that Heard's opinion article "Amber Heard: I spoke up against sexual violence — and faced our culture’s wrath. That has to change" was defamatory against Depp and he lost potential income due to her actions.

Now, can Johnny Depp sue the Washington Post that published this article in 2018?

The Article

If you check out the article, it has the following disclaimer added in the beginning:

"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. "

Therefore, I'd like to note a few things:

1. This was an opinion-kind article, meaning Washington Post wasn't the one claiming the things written there.

2. Having that said, magazines and newspapers must conduct proper due diligence before publishing anything.

3. They did make an effort to mention the trial's outcome, which is important.

Legal Opinion

I watch a popular YouTube channel called "Legal Eagle" (not sponsored or affiliated), and they posted an opinion regarding Johnny Depp potentially suing Washington Post.

While "anyone can technically sue anyone at any time," the attorney indicates the following:

"Can Johnny Depp sue the Washington Post? Well, sure, but it's incredibly unlikely that he'd win. [...] But there's no reason to believe that the Washington Post would have known of the falsity of the statements. And, on top of that, the Washington Post simply published Amber Heard's article. The only part of the article that was written by the Washington Post was the headline [...] which more or less summarizes the things that Amber Heard actually said. So, good luck proving the knowledge of falsity or recklessness with respect to the truth by the Washington Post itself."

The lawyer then mentions that Depp may file an injunction to take the article down as it's still available online.

Conclusion

There you have it. Despite the above being one man's opinion - or more like one lawyer's opinion - it makes sense. The article wasn't written by the WP but simply published by them. I agree that it would be tough to prove their guilt.

I do, however, hope that Johnny Depp demands the story be taken down, considering the outcome of the trial.

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