A member of Johnny Depp's security team claims he witnessed Amber Heard physically assault the actor. Travis McGivern, who has been Depp's bodyguard for almost a decade, testified on Monday that Heard threw a Red Bull can at Depp, spit on him and punched the Pirates of the Caribbean star in the face.
McGivern was the first witness called by Depp's team on Monday. He appeared virtually and testified about the verbal abuse the actor endured from Heard, telling the court the actress would call Depp a "f***ing dead beat dad," "washed up," and "f***ing c***."
"You name it, she spewed it," McGivern said. McGivern also claimed Heard "demeaned" him on one occasion, as she "threw some shade on me and my chosen career."
McGivern witnessed one of the 14 times Heard claims she was abused by Depp — except he told the court it was exactly the opposite.
The incident in question occurred on March 23, 2015, two weeks after the pair's blowup in Australia where Depp says Heard severed his fingertip. McGivern saw Heard throw a Red Bull can at Depp, striking him in the back. Depp was "angry and agitated," according to McGivern, and "gave as good as he got" verbally.
"At one point she spit at him," McGivern testified, adding he saw "just a lot of verbal vitriol from both of them."
Depp was so upset he "rearranged" Heard's closet, throwing down every rack of clothing. He threw some of Heard's items down the stairs.
"He was upset," McGivern recalled.
Things escalated when Heard supposedly decked Depp. McGivern said he was next to the actor, and all of a sudden, saw the actress's "arm come across my right shoulder."
"I heard and saw a closed fist contact Mr. Depp in the left side of his face," McGivern stated. "That was Amber Heard's fist."
As for how Depp reacted, McGivern said: "The initial look on his face kind of mirrored mine, kind of a look of shock. What just happened?"
McGivern said Depp had a "nice little shiner" and that the side of the actor's face was "definitely swollen and red." McGivern testified that at no point did Depp ever physically respond and attack Heard. After the punch, McGivern said he got Depp out of the former couple's Los Angeles penthouse.
"My job is to ensure the safety and well-being of my clients, and I felt like I hadn’t done that," he said. Depp agreed, telling McGivern at the time how the shiner was his fault.
When asked by Depp's attorney how many times he witnessed Heard physically abuse the actor, McGivern asked how that should be defined. He testified that on "multiple occasions" he witnessed Heard physically try and stop Depp from leaving the room during arguments.
McGivern also testified about Depp doing drugs, saying he witnessed the actor smoke marijuana "daily." He said Depp is "chill" when he's high. McGivern saw Depp do cocaine "a couple" of times, but overall, the actor had a high tolerance for alcohol and substances.
During cross-examination, Heard's legal team tried to get McGivern to change his story. He didn't.
Whitney Heard witnessed part of the March 23, 2015 fight and is expected to testify on behalf of her sister. McGivern was asked if, in fact, Depp pushed Whitney and that's why Heard stepped in and hit him. McGivern said that was "absolutely" not true.
"[Depp] was reaching for Amber's hair as he was trying to hit her with that cast?" Heard's attorney Ben Rottenborn asked.
"That is not correct," McGivern replied.
Heard's lawyers are trying to paint the picture that many of Depp's witnesses are on the actor's payroll. McGivern said he still works part-time for Depp.
Depp is suing Heard for defamation over a 2018 op-ed she wrote in the Washington Post. Essentially the rest of the day was spent by Depp's legal team arguing that the actor's career was killed by his ex-wife's article.
Talent agent Jack Whigham testified that Depp's reputation throughout his decades-long career was positive before Heard's allegations. He found the actor to be "artistic, polite, very thoughtful" and exhibit "genuine kindness." Depp was "very well regarded and respected" in the entertainment industry and viewed as "extremely talented."
Whigham made the case that Depp was still sought after by filmmakers after Heard first made allegations of domestic violence in 2016. Depp booked major studio films like Murder on the Orient Express, in which he was paid $10 million, and Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald raking in $13.3 million. In 2017, Depp still had a relationship with Disney, according to Whigham, and the actor was set to earn $22.5 million for Pirates of Caribbean 6. (During cross-examination, Whigham conceded there was no official contract, but that the agreement was verbal.)
Heard's op-ed published in Dec. 2018 "was catastrophic" to the actor, Whigham told the court. The agent was particularly taken aback by the online headline: "I spoke up against sexual violence — and faced our culture's wrath. That has to change."
"That was rather shocking, I remember, because it was the first time I heard the allegation of sexual abuse," Whigham recalled. He said the fact the article was a first person account by Heard made it "extremely impactful."
After the op-ed was published, Whigham said it was "very, very difficult" to keep some of Depp's planned films together. He couldn't book any studio films for the actor.
"After the op-ed it was impossible to get him a studio film, which is what we normally would have been focused on in that time period," he said. He denied the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 impacted that much as his company was "still doing business on behalf of bigger stars."
During cross-examination, Whigham admitted "it was trending badly" that Depp could be cut from Pirates 6 before the op-ed was published, but that they still "had hope" it would work out as producer Jerry Bruckheimer wanted the movie star. Whigham said he learned days after the op-ed was published that Depp would not return as Captain Jack Sparrow.
Richard Marks, a technical forensics analyst with 50 years in the entertainment industry, was called as an expert witness for Depp.
"I was asked to bring my years of experience in the entertainment industry and look at the damage that the op-ed of 2018 created in Johnny Depp's career," he told the court. "The op-ed damaged Mr. Depp, created a cancel situation if you will, harmed his reputation and his ability to get work in the Hollywood industry.
Marks said the #MeToo movement changed how Hollywood conducts business in that the victim now has the benefit of the doubt.
"Before the #MeToo movement, that morals clause was fading out," Marks stated. "The morals clause has come back and it's a demanded feature in every entertainment employment agreement because the studios want that verbiage, they want those rights so they can act quickly and decisively when there is a claim."
Marks said studios don't want to hire actors with negative publicity and that Disney, home of the Pirates franchise, is a family-friendly brand.
"You might say Pirates of the Caribbean is Johnny Depp and vice versa," he explained. "That's the impact of a star."
When it comes to a star's reputation "drugs and diva behavior" is typically acceptable in the industry, in Marks's expert opinion, but a "canceled" person is not. Heard's legal team hammered Marks in cross-examination, showing that there were many, many negative press articles about the actor before Heard's op-ed.
"I agree there was negative publicity before the op-ed," Marks said. "There is certainly Johnny Depp, negative behavior out there."
Intellectual property consultant Douglas Bania testified as another expert witness. He analyzed Google Trends, Google search results and Q Scores showing data that Depp's reputation took a hit after allegations of abuse in 2016. Depp's Q Score, which measures a star's likability, went down further after the op-ed.
"The public perception of Mr. Depp has been damaged," Bania declared. "They like him less."
Heard's lawyer Adam Nadelhaft pointed out inconsistencies between Bania's previous deposition and his testimony in an effort to discredit the witness. Nadelhaft made the point that there were other articles in 2018 — like The Sun's "wife beater" headline — that could have impacted Depp's Q Score.
Depp's team will likely rest its case on Tuesday after more witness testimony. Although it was reported that Heard would be the defense's first witness, Yahoo Entertainment has learned that's no longer the case. Dr. Dawn M. Hughes, a clinical and forensic psychologist, will take the stand first.
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