The Johnny Depp/Amber Heard libel lawsuit continues to smash its way through the seabed of the subconscious online this week, spewing some of the industry at times factoid or moment of strangeness which inevitably rises to the surface to be dissected and traveled. Today, this bolus hunt took the form of the testimony of “entertainment industry consultant” Kathryn Arnold (whose main job, it seems, is to testify about the industry in court cases like this), who spoke about the effects of Heard’s divorce and Depp, and so on, The totally non-sectarian backlash against Heard that followed affected his career.
What was ‘significant’, according to Arnold’s account, especially with regard to Heard’s main role in the Aquaman sub-franchise of Warner Bros. movies. Arnold’s testimony was interesting in that it seemed confirmed some of the things people have already inferred in recent years, including the fact that Heard was deliberately excluded from promotional material for the film’s sequelbanned from DC’s FanDome event, and was almost immediately fired from the film, despite being part of a billion-plus superhero blockbuster.
By The envelopeArnold—who was called as a witness on Heard’s behalf, as she attempts to rebut Depp’s defamation charges over an op-ed she wrote about being a child abuse survivor few years ago— noted that “research has shown that whenever Heard’s name was mentioned, whether in a movie, TV show, magazine article, or sponsorship deal, there was an immediate reaction from fans on social media. (Readers at home can replicate this research by spending about four seconds on Twitter in 2022.) As such, Warner Bros. told Heard she was functionally disinvited from FanDome, the company’s now annual celebration of its brands and various movie properties.
Beyond that, the studio would have pushed to have her removed from Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom outright, only being stopped by a united front from co-star Jason Momoa and director James Wan. According to Arnold’s testimony, both Wan and Momoa were “committed to her” and were”adamant she was in the movie. Nonetheless, Heard testified that his role in the film was reduced, officially because of a supposed lack of chemistry with Momoa.
Arnold noted that Depp’s career has also been damaged by the public dispute between him and Heard, good that she also noted that the editorial seemingly at the heart of the whole affair was a blip with no impact on Hollywood’s radar –until Depp files his lawsuit on it, and turned him into the weeping PR ulcer he is today.