Amber Heard was told to stay away from DC FanDome amid her legal battle with Johnny Depp, a Hollywood insider testified Monday in Depp’s defamation trial against his ex-wife.
Kathryn Arnold, who described herself as an “entertainment industry consultant,” took the witness stand in Fairfax, Virginia, and said Heard has been iced out of promotional events for “Aquaman 2.”
“Ms. Heard was not invited to be either in the poster or to be at the [FanDome] event, and, in fact, they told her she cannot come,” Arnold said.
DC did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment.
Arnold was hired by Heard’s legal team to assess the “reputational harm and economic loss that Ms. Heard incurred due to the defamatory statements” by Depp’s attorney Adam Waldman, who in 2020 accused the actress of perpetrating an “abuse hoax.”
Arnold said she’s previously worked as a script reader, film and television producer, and in development.
She said research showed whenever Heard’s name was mentioned, whether in connection to a film, TV show, magazine article, or endorsement deal, there was immediate backlash from fans on social media. For that reason, Arnold said there had been an effort to completely cut the actress out of “Aquaman 2,” but star Jason Momoa and director James Wan fought to keep her in the film.
“In February 2021, there were conversations that Amber’s, I’m going to be technical with you, her option for employment was not going to be exercised. So they may not have hired her again,” Arnold said. “Her management team fought very hard and they ultimately ended up hiring her, but not only because of what her management did, but also because star Jason Momoa and director James Wan committed to her.”
Heard previously testified that her role in the film has been cut down.
Arnold also said Heard’s career trajectory was “comparable” to that of Momoa, Gal Gadot, Zendaya, Ana de Armas and Chris Pine. But Depp’s attorney countered that they are all much bigger stars. “That’s not the career path that Ms. Heard has had. She’s never been the title character in a movie, she hasn’t spent years on television,” Depp’s attorney said.
Arnold said Heard has suffered sizable losses in income due to attorney Adam Waldman’s statements. “If you look at the film, the television and the endorsement contracts, it’s very likely that Ms. Heard should have earned between $45 and $50 million dollars” over a 5-year period.
She went on to say Heard’s entire career has been affected by the case. She noted that LA Style magazine was going to give Heard “the cover picture and the cover story” for starring in the TV series “The Stand,” but that offer was rescinded.
Arnold added that the lawsuits have hurt Depp’s career as well.
“Every time he has filed a lawsuit it has brought to light various issues with respect to whatever that lawsuit was about… whether it was about erratic behavior, or domestic abuse, or drugs and alcohol and even spending habits,” Arnold said.
She noted that the “Pirates of the Caribbean” star draws a lot of publicity and any time he’s mentioned in the media, people pay attention. But she said the “press and publicity” around his lawsuits has been “charged up.”
Regarding the impact that Heard’s Washington Post op-ed had on Depp’s career, Arnold said, “Very little. Hardly anybody knew the op-ed existed before he filed suit.” She said the op-ed “kind of came in and out of the radar very quickly if anybody even saw it at all.”
Depp had been expected to be called as a witness for Heard’s defense team Monday, but her legal team changed strategies, and he did not take the stand.
Depp is suing Heard for $50 million claiming she libeled him in a 2018 op-ed piece in The Washington Post, costing him a lucrative role in the “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise. Although Heard didn’t name him in the article, the “Aquaman” actress described herself as a “public figure representing domestic abuse.” Heard has counter-sued for $100 million.
Umberto Gonzalez contributed to this report.