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A high-profile legal case due to begin in America today could highlight how a major department store in the capital city of Wales used a picture of the man at the centre of it, to sell Eau de Cologne despite him losing his bid to appeal against a scathing High Court ruling in the UK, that he battered his ex-wife 12 times.
A judge at the UK court decided that The Sun was right to brand shamed actor Johnny Depp a “wife beater” for the brutal attacks on his ex, Amber Heard.
Despite this judgement, the giant department store John Lewis (JL) used a large picture of Mr Depp to sell Dior’s Eau Sauvage in the perfume department of its Cardiff shop, and after almost five months has failed to provide a statement explaining their controversial policy.
The only response from the JL PO in November, was: “Hello Phil, Thank you for your email and getting in touch. We will look into this for you – please could you let me know what your deadline is?”.
Now an important defamation trial has been listed to begin in the USA, after Mr Depp sued the Washington Post in a $50 million alleged libel case.
His former wife, Ms Heard, had authored an opinion piece in the newspaper on domestic abuse, which Mr Depp has claimed was clearly about him, even though he wasn’t named.
For her part, Ms Heard has launched a $100 million counter-claim against Mr Depp, alleging that he has orchestrated a smear campaign against her.
It is rare for libel cases to go all the way to court, as they are normally settled beforehand, and this may indicate that the litigants are not motivated by money, but principle.
In the background of the case in the USA, will be the 2020 one in the UK.
At this hearing, Mr Justice Nicol ruled that Mr Depp attacked Ms Heard on a dozen occasions during their relationship, and that an article about the assaults in The Sun, was “substantially true”.
It has been found in court, that Mr Depp put his ex-wife in “fear for her life” on three occasions – including during a “three-day hostage situation” in Australia in March 2015, where £120,000 worth of damage was caused to their rented home.
It was also ruled in the UK court case, that
- In early 2013, Mr Depp slapped and knocked Ms Heard to the ground after she made a joke about his “Wino Forever” tattoo.
- In March 2013, Mr Depp flew into a rage while high on drugs and hit Ms Heard so hard he made her lip bleed.
- In June 2013, Mr Depp attacked Ms Herd in a trailer at Hicksville – throwing glasses at her and ripping her dress.
- In May 2014, Mr Depp screamed at her on a private jet after taking drugs and boozing before kicking her in the back or bum.
- In 2014, Mr Depp grabed Ms Heard by the hair, slapped her and pushed her to the ground on a detox trip to the Bahamas.
- In January 2015, Mr Depp again attacked Ms Heard while on drugs – this time slapping her and pushing her to the ground. He then stood over her yelling.
- In March 2015, Mr Depp launched into a brutal three-day attack in Australia – leaving Ms Heard with a broken lip, swollen nose and cuts all over her body. He trashed the house in a violent rampage and pushed her to the ground, choking her and spitting in her face.
- In March 2015 in the couple’s LA home, Mr Depp grabbed Ms Heard in front of her sister and repeatedly hit her.
- In August 2015 on the couple’s honeymoon, Mr Depp pushed Ms Heard against a wall by grabbing her by the throat.
- In December 2015, Mr Depp chucked a glass decanter at Ms Heard at their LA home in a drug binge. He also slapped her and dragged her through the apartment by her hair – ripping a chunk out. He then hit her again in the back of the head and headbutted her in the face and screamed “I will f***ing kill you”. Mr Depp then pushed her face into a mattress and repeatedly punched her in the back of the head.
- In April 2016 at Ms. Heard’s birthday party, Mr Depp assaulted her after receiving “grim news” about his finances.
- In May 2016, Mr Depp chucked a phone at Ms Heard – injuring her eye – before pulling her hair and striking her.
The judge in the UK libel case brought by Mr Depp, dismissed two allegations made by Ms Heard, but did not conclude she had been untruthful. These were that:
- In December 2014, Ms Heard claimed Mr Depp was “violent towards” her, and later branded himself a “f***ing savage”. This is, perhaps, appropriate given that the male perfume Mr Depp advertises is ‘Sauvage’.
- In November 2015, she said Mr Depp “threw her around the room” and pushed her over a chair.
With this background, the silence by JL over their policy of continuing to use a large picture of Mr Depp, promoting the sale of male perfume, seems bizarre in the extreme.
Apart from nothing from the Press Office (PO) in London, the only response has been provided to our Editor, Phil Parry, by a representative at the perfume counter in Cardiff, who said: “He (Mr Depp) was never charged!”.
Since the incidents, Mr Depp has said he has been through “an unpleasant and messy situation”, and was facing a Hollywood “boycott”.
Plainly there could also be an ‘unpleasant situation’ for JL, when after five months they still haven’t officially defended using the picture of an actor labelled a “wife-beater”, when a court case gets underway, with him at the centre of it all.