Some legal cases are a blip in a person’s life. They wake up, get coffee, go to court, the legal team gives their defense, the judge shares the results, and everyone goes home. However, some legal cases take place on a bigger stage and have profound effects on the persons involved. The world of Pirates of the Caribbean star Johnny Depp was rocked by his legal complications with ex-wife Amber Heard.
In 2016, Heard made public her accusations against Depp. She alleged his physical, mental, and emotional violence toward her in their relationship. At the same time, more & more women in Hollywood were coming forward with their own stories of having been victimized & subsequently silenced by powerful men.
Her story hit hard and her op-ed hit even harder. The industry responded to the people who had begun to turn against Depp for his alleged transgressions. Earlier this month, though, Depp was cleared of charges and Heard lost against the media frenzy that was their defamation trial. Fans are now wondering: will the beloved Pirates of the Caribbean welcome Johnny Depp back?
Bye Bye Johnny
In 2003, activist Tarana Burke was putting her labor & love into establishing the ‘Just Be’ program. It gave voice to Black girls and other young women silenced in their experiences of sexual assault and/or abuse. In 2017, ‘Just Be’ became the foundation for the #MeToo movement which took off on Twitter & in the filmmaking industry.
Many rejoiced at the newfound power of people who have been rendered voiceless through their victimization. Heard was among many reclaiming their power by sharing their stories. In fact, her story in particular made a huge impact on the person she was accusing of domestic violence.
As a result, Pirates of the Caribbean was one of many major projects that parted ways with Johnny Depp. Whether they would’ve done so years prior is a moot point. They didn’t want to be seen working with someone who was becoming increasingly disliked by the public. It was one of many opportunities Depp would lose.
Court of opinion
Ultimately, the court of public opinion persuaded the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise to part ways with Johnny Depp. The anger on Twitter toward alleged offenders & those that seemed to stand by them was having real financial consequences. It makes sense that a Disney company would be especially sensitive toward outcries from the people.
As Depp entered his high-profile defamation trial with Heard, however, public opinion saw a change in its tide. No longer was it focused on Depp, it began to critically look at Heard. People began questioning Heard’s motives and even the legitimacy of her claims against Depp.
The courts eventually ruled in Depp’s favor, even Heard didn’t walk away with all of the blame. Some say this ruling will harmfully impact the future of abuse survivors taking their accusations to court. Others rejoiced at Depp emerging victorious from this long battle for his honor. Regardless, Depp walked away from the trial with lighter steps and maybe even a brighter future.
The Pirates of the Caribbean wasn’t the only franchise to walk away from Johnny Depp in light of Heard’s accusations. His role as Gellert Grindelwald in Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore was given to Mads Mikkelsen (NBC’s Hannibal).
It’s currently unknown whether or not Depp will reprise his role as Captain Jack Sparrow. Yet, his former co-stars Kevin McNally & Greg Ellis have been rooting for his return as the fan-favorite drunken pirate since the accusations first hit the internet.
Not everyone is a fan of the court’s ruling in Depp’s favor. Those who are, though, are gearing up for a fantastic return not just to the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise but to the opportunities that have been denied to Depp. Who knows, he may sail again as the incomparable Captain Jack Sparrow.
Are you looking forward to seeing Johnny Depp return to the Pirates of the Caribbean? Do you agree with the court’s final ruling? Let us know your swashbuckling thoughts in the comments below!