Johnny Depp's Lawyers Say Verdict Isn't a Setback for Victims: 'Domestic Violence Doesn't Have a Gender'

·4 min read
Johnny Depp
Johnny Depp

MICHAEL REYNOLDS/POOL/AFP via Getty Johnny Depp

Johnny Depp's attorneys Camille Vasquez and Benjamin Chew say that the actor's recent legal win against ex-wife Amber Heard has no broader impact on domestic violence outside of the "facts in this case."

During their appearance on Good Morning America Wednesday, George Stephanopoulos pointed out to the lawyers, "Victims' advocates have argued that the verdict is going to have a chilling effect on domestic-violence victims and it's a blow to the #MeToo movement."

"I think our response to that is that we encourage any victim to come forward. Domestic violence doesn't have a gender," Vasquez said.

"So you don't see this as a setback in any way, shape or form?" Stephanopoulos asked.

"We do not," said Vasquez. "We believe that the verdict speaks for itself; the facts are what they are. The jury made a unanimous decision based on those facts."

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RELATED: #MeToo Founder Tarana Burke Says Movement Remains "Very Much Alive" Despite Johnny Depp Verdict

Last week, a seven-person jury consisting of five men and two women found both Depp, 58, and Heard, 36, liable for defamation, but sided mostly with the Pirates of the Caribbean star. He was awarded $10.35 million in damages, while the Aquaman actress received $2 million.

Listen below to an exclusive interview with Camille Vasquez on our daily podcast PEOPLE Every Day.

Depp and his fans celebrated the verdict, with the actor saying the "jury gave me my life back" in a statement. Heard called the decision a "setback" for women; her lawyer Elaine Bredehoft said last week that her client plans to appeal the verdict.

The jurors found that Heard defamed her ex-husband in her 2018 Washington Post op-ed that didn't mention him by name. In it, she wrote that she "became a public figure representing domestic abuse" and "felt the full force of our culture's wrath for women who speak out." (Depp has maintained that he has not assaulted Heard, and has instead accused her of physically harming him.)

Asked whether there's a message beyond the case in terms of the #MeToo movement, Vasquez also said Wednesday on the Today show, "No, frankly we don't. We're here to talk about the case that we tried. We encourage all victims to come forward [and] have their day in court, which is exactly what happened in this case."

Chew also told Savannah Guthrie on Today that the reason he thinks the jury didn't believe Heard "had a lot to do with accountability."

"Johnny owned and was candid about his alcohol and drug issues. He was candid about some unfortunate texts that he wrote, and I think it was a sharp contrast to Ms. Heard, who didn't seem, or at least the jury may have perceived, that she didn't take accountability for anything," Chew explained.

Johnny Depp leaves for a recess at the Fairfax County Circuit Courthouse in Fairfax, Virginia, on May 5, 2022. - Actor Johnny Depp is suing ex-wife Amber Heard for libel after she wrote an op-ed piece in The Washington Post in 2018 referring to herself as a public figure representing domestic abuse. (Photo by Jim LO SCALZO / POOL / AFP) (Photo by JIM LO SCALZO/POOL/AFP via Getty Images); Amber Heard (L) testifies as US actor Johnny Depp looks on during a defamation trial at the Fairfax County Circuit Courthouse in Fairfax, Virginia, on May 5, 2022. - Actor Johnny Depp is suing ex-wife Amber Heard for libel after she wrote an op-ed piece in The Washington Post in 2018 referring to herself as a public figure representing domestic abuse. (Photo by Jim LO SCALZO / POOL / AFP) (Photo by JIM LO SCALZO/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Johnny Depp leaves for a recess at the Fairfax County Circuit Courthouse in Fairfax, Virginia, on May 5, 2022. - Actor Johnny Depp is suing ex-wife Amber Heard for libel after she wrote an op-ed piece in The Washington Post in 2018 referring to herself as a public figure representing domestic abuse. (Photo by Jim LO SCALZO / POOL / AFP) (Photo by JIM LO SCALZO/POOL/AFP via Getty Images); Amber Heard (L) testifies as US actor Johnny Depp looks on during a defamation trial at the Fairfax County Circuit Courthouse in Fairfax, Virginia, on May 5, 2022. - Actor Johnny Depp is suing ex-wife Amber Heard for libel after she wrote an op-ed piece in The Washington Post in 2018 referring to herself as a public figure representing domestic abuse. (Photo by Jim LO SCALZO / POOL / AFP) (Photo by JIM LO SCALZO/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Jim LO SCALZO/POOL/AFP/Getty (2) Johnny Depp; Amber Heard

RELATED: Johnny Depp's Lawyers Say He "Got His Life Back" After Amber Heard Verdict: "Weight of the World Is Off"

On Tuesday, Depp joined TikTok and wrote alongside a video montage of his recent music touring with Jeff Beck, "To all of my most treasured, loyal and unwavering supporters. We've been everywhere together, we have seen everything together. We have walked the same road together. We did the right thing together, all because you cared."

"And now, we will all move forward together," the Fantastic Beasts actor continued. "You are, as always, my employers and once again I am whittled down to no way to say thank you, other than just by saying thank you. So, thank you. My love & respect, JD."  (As of Wednesday morning, Depp has attracted a TikTok audience of 8.6 million.)

A spokesperson for Heard responded to Depp's latest message in a statement, saying, "As Johnny Depp says he's 'moving forward,' women's rights are moving backward. The verdict's message to victims of domestic violence is ... be afraid to stand up and speak out."

Ahead of Chew and Vasquez's appearances on Today and GMA, a spokesperson for Heard said in a statement shared with PEOPLE, "It is as unseemly as it is unprofessional that Johnny Depp's legal team has chosen to do a victory lap for setting back decades of how women can be treated in the courtroom. What's next? A movie deal and merchandising?"

If you are experiencing domestic violence, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233, or go to thehotline.org. All calls are toll-free and confidential. The hotline is available 24/7 in more than 170 languages.