TikTok and the £50k curry: how Johnny Depp has begun his comeback

Actor has made a number of public appearances since his libel victory over his ex-wife

Johnny Depp
(Image credit: Neil Mockford/GC Images)

Johnny Depp could be on the “road back” to a movie career after making a string of public appearances since winning his court battle against Amber Heard.

Depp won his high-profile libel case against his ex-wife last week after the jury in Fairfax, Virginia decided Heard’s claim that she was a victim of domestic abuse was defamatory and false, while she won one of her defamation claims against Depp.

Depp ‘still polarizing’

Jury verdicts may be clear cut, but “Hollywood does not work that way”, said Variety magazine. The Pirates of the Caribbean star has suffered “tremendous reputational damage” from the trial, which revealed a man who was “self-pitying, drug-addled and profoundly entitled”, leaving Depp, 58, with “a lot of work to do if he wants to revive his career”.

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“It’s not a light-switch,” Howard Bragman, a crisis consultant to celebrity clients, said of his trial win. “It’s a road back.”

Another PR consultant, Howard Breuer, told the magazine that movie producers would be thinking carefully about whether critics would “pounce” on them for casting Depp in his first big role after the trial. “He’s still polarizing,” Breuer added.

Back with Beck

But Depp has a few upcoming projects that could bolster his prospects of a comeback. After his libel trial against Heard was concluded, legendary guitarist Jeff Beck announced that Depp would appear with him on a forthcoming album.

Depp has also launched a new TikTok account, @JohnnyDepp, which has already amassed some 3.6 million followers, despite the fact he is yet to post a single video.

On Thursday, Depp appeared on stage in Gateshead on the latest leg of Beck’s UK tour, “to the delight of hundreds of fans”, as well as joining him at the Royal Albert Hall last week, said the BBC. He is also expected to make an appearance in York this evening as the musician continues his tour.

And Depp also joined Beck – along with a 20-person entourage – for an extravagant night at a fine dining Indian restaurant in Birmingham on Sunday. The film star reportedly splashed out some £50,000 for a three-course meal of “shish kebabs, chicken tikka and tandoori king prawns”, said the Evening Standard.

What next for #MeToo?

Critics have said the outcome of Depp’s trial is likely to have a damaging effect on victims of domestic violence who want to come forward and report their experience.

As Constance Grady wrote for Vox, Depp brought a libel case against Heard for a newspaper article she wrote that did not name Depp, but in which she referred to herself as “a public figure representing domestic abuse”.

The outcome of the trial, which found that Depp had been defamed, “is as much as to say that anyone who says the phrase ‘I was abused’ can be sued as a liar”, said Grady. This, she argued, is “highly likely to have a chilling effect” on domestic abuse victims coming forward.

But Tarana Burke, an activist who founded the #MeToo movement, said the trial’s verdict would not end or damage the movement.

“The ‘me too’ movement isn’t dead, this system is dead,” Burke wrote on Twitter. “This is the same legal system that y’all have been relying on for justice and accountability for decades to no avail. When you get the verdict you want, ‘the movement works’ – when you don’t, it’s dead.”

She added: “When [Harvey] Weinstein went to jail it was, ‘me too is winning!’ When [Bill] Cosby came home it was ‘What a blow, me too is losing!”

Burke wrote that #MeToo had helped survivors of domestic abuse come forward, saying “millions of people who have never been able to utter the words ‘it happened to me’ have released the shame that wasn’t theirs to carry in the first place.

“This movement is very much ALIVE,” she said.

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