In Brief

Will Hollywood ditch Johnny Depp over High Court ‘wife-beater’ ruling?

Industry experts say the actor’s critically acclaimed career is over - but high-profile friends claim he’ll be ‘vindicated’

Show-business pundits are predicting that Johnny Depp’s career is set to tank after the actor lost his libel claim against The Sun over an article describing him as a “wife beater”.

The Hollywood star sued over a 2018 column written by the tabloid’s executive editor Dan Wootton which referred to “overwhelming evidence” that Depp attacked his now ex-wife Amber Heard during their two-year marriage. But the High Court ruled yesterday that the allegations of violence were “substantially true”.

In the wake of that verdict, “Depp’s career is finished”, according to The Telegraph’s film critic Robbie Collin, who says the actor’s name “lies indelibly blackened, and his professional prospects in tatters”.

Public relations expert Mark Borkowski agrees, telling The Times that the ruling has left an “indelible stain” on Depp’s character that will bar him from family films. “His brand had a sort of edge and that edge now has turned to something that is really ugly and abusive,” Borkowski said.

The Guardian says that the damage to Depp’s reputation, “following one of the most widely followed libel trials of the century, will be extensive”, while the Daily Mirror warns that he “faces being cast into Hollywood wilderness”.

As Sky News reports, during the court case “the world was made privy to the actor’s lifestyle of eye-watering excess: drug binges, blackouts, trashed properties, graphic insults in texts, writing on walls in blood”.

But not everyone is convinced that the A-lister is facing a major demotion. Irish journalist Victoria Mary Clarke has launched an online “support campaign” for Depp and tweeted yesterday that she believes “he will be vindicated”, the Irish Independent reports. 

Clarke’s husband, Pogues singer Shane MacGowan, has also backed the actor, with whom he has been friends for more than 30 years. In a videoed message to Depp, MacGowan said: “Ride on bro, rock on... be the giant that you are. You’re above all of that shit. Love you.”

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