What is an op-ed? Meaning explained as Amber Heard's 2018 article gains traction amid ongoing Johnny Depp defamation trial 

Amber Heard and Johnny Depp tied the knot in 2015 but filed for divorce in 2016 (Image via Amanda Edwards/Getty Images)
Amber Heard and Johnny Depp tied the knot in 2015 but filed for divorce in 2016 (Image via Amanda Edwards/Getty Images)

American actress Amber Heard's 2018 op-ed in The Washington Post, where she described herself as a victim of domestic violence, has resurfaced online amid the ongoing Johnny Depp defamation trial.

In the piece written by her, Amber Heard wrote:

Johnny Depp during his testimony in court against his ex-wife Amber Heard said that she committed the most severe forms of torture as she tied him to a chair in front of the TV and forced him to watch all Man Utd games.
"I became a public figure representing domestic abuse, and I felt the full force of our culture's wrath for women who speak out."

In 2019, Johnny Depp sued Heard for $50 million for defaming him, stating that the Aquaman actress was "not a victim of domestic abuse, she is a perpetrator." He further denied the claims put up against him.

Amber Heard vs. Johnny Depp Fact Check: MASTERLIST

Instead, the complaint claimed that Amber Heard's claims were part of an "elaborate hoax to generate positive publicity" for her.

Depp's lawyers further said:

"The op-ed depended on the central premise that Ms. Heard was a domestic abuse victim and that Mr. Depp perpetrated domestic violence against her."

What an op-ed is and how Johnny Depp's profession was impacted after Amber Heard's piece

I'm not a 'Johnny Depp Fan'. I'm just an educated person interested in the legalities. From the facts presented, Amber Heard looks bad. It's not fandom, it's not PR tactics. She got caught in some pretty disgusting lies. The public doesn't like that. #JohnnyDeppVsAmberHeard

As per the Cambridge Dictionary, an op-ed is an article or column where the writer expresses their personal opinion. It is usually printed in a newspaper, opposite oothe page on which the editorial is printed.

After Amber Heard's claims, Johnny Depp lost several film roles, including his famous Pirates of the Caribbean character, Jack Sparrow.

On May 2, amidst the ongoing trial, Depp's talent manager, Jack Whigham revealed that the actor lost a $22.5 million deal to act in the sixth installment of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise after Heard's op-ed was published.


Although the op-ed does not name Depp directly, he has maintained during the trial that it plainly related to their connection. Amber Heard has accused Depp of regularly beating her throughout their relationship, which Depp has denied.

Whigham testified in Fairfax County Circuit Court in Virginia that the actor had a verbal agreement with Disney to reprise his role as Captain Jack Sparrow in a proposed sixth film, but that in early 2019, it became clear that Disney was "going in a different direction."

"After the Op-Ed it was impossible to get a studio-film for #JohnnyDepp " - Jack Whigham #AmberHeard #JohnnyDeppAmberHeardTrial

He said:

“After the op-ed, it was impossible to get him a studio film."

Not just Pirates of the Caribbean, but after losing the libel trial against The Sun, Johnny Depp reported that he had been asked to "resign" from his role in the film Fantastic Beasts 3. Depp was replaced by Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen.

Issues brought up regarding the timing of Amber Heard's op-ed piece

On April 28, it was reported that the General Counsel and COO for the American Civil Liberties Union, Terence Dougherty, revealed that the piece was published to coincide with the release of her film Aquaman.

She collaborated closely with the individual rights organization on the content of the op-ed, where it would be published, and when it would be published.

In a pre-recorded deposition played in the trial, Dougherty said:

Terence Dougherty, for the ACLU is on the stand! amber Heard's co-conspirators! link:…#amberheard #JohnnyDeppVsAmberHeard #JohnnyDepp
“Placing op-eds about matters such as this is the kind of thing that is the bread and butter for the ACLU."

Depp's lawyer read an email from the organization to Heard concerning the op-ed in which the ACLU stated:

“The goal is to get this out this week to capitalize on the tremendous campaign for ‘Aquaman.’”

Dougherty responded to the attorney:

“I do recall that there was a conversation about the optimal timing for the op-ed piece.”

According to him, Amber Heard agreed that the column should be released around the movie's release. The piece was titled “Amber Heard: I spoke up against sexual violence – and faced our culture’s wrath. That has to change.”

Dougherty stated the headline in the The Washington Post was not created by the ACLU.

The op-ed was released on December 18, 2018, three days before Aquaman hit theaters in the United States on December 21, 2018.

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Edited by Abu Amjad Khan
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