Agent says he thinks Heard’s accusations cost Depp his ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ role

Placeholder while article actions load

There have been plenty of slightly surreal scenes at the Fairfax County Courthouse over the last couple of weeks during the Johnny Depp-Amber Heard defamation trial — but on Wednesday, even the judge was taken aback during a recorded video deposition, in which one of Depp’s witnesses spoke from his car and started driving while giving his testimony. At one point, he appeared to be smoking a vape pen.

“That was a first,” Judge Penney Azcarate said. “I’ve seen a lot of things, but I’ve just never seen that before.”

“I will say, Your Honor, that is the most bizarre deposition,” said Heard’s attorney Elaine Bredehoft.

The witness, Alejandro Romero, worked at the front desk of the Eastern Columbia Building in Los Angeles when Depp and Heard lived there together in a penthouse during their marriage. Romero grew openly frustrated with Bredehoft’s cross-examination.

“I am just so stressed out because of this, I just don’t want to deal with this anymore. I’m tired. I don’t want to deal with this court case,” he said at one point. “Everybody’s got problems.”

Romero’s deposition came during the first half of the day, which focused on a May 21, 2016, incident at the building, when two calls were placed to police. Later that week, Heard filed for divorce and a restraining order, alleging abuse and that Depp threw a cellphone at her face. Depp denied this at the time and continues to do so now.

Depp, 58, is suing Heard, 36, for defamation over a 2018 op-ed in The Washington Post in which she said she had become a public face of domestic abuse. Though she did not name Depp, the actor said that it’s obvious whom she was referring to and that it ruined his reputation and career. When Depp’s attorney called Heard’s allegations a hoax, she countersued Depp for defamation for $100 million, and her team has argued that Depp’s alcohol and drug use was what damaged his career.

Two Los Angeles police officers, Tyler Hadden and William Gatlin, both testified Wednesday that they did not see any injuries on Heard’s face. Hadden was one of the officers who responded to the first call of a domestic dispute, and, echoing his colleague Melissa Saenz’s testimony on Tuesday, said that Heard — whose face was red from crying — was “uncooperative” and would not answer further questions and did not want to press charges. From the sweep of the penthouse, he said, the officers did not see any other damage and determined they didn’t need to fill out a report and left.

Gatlin, unlike the first two officers, wore a body camera — jurors saw the video of when Gatlin and his partner arrived at the scene a bit later, and a friend of Heard’s opened the door. After a brief conversation with Heard and her three friends, Gatlin and his partner left; and said based on their investigation, it appeared that Heard was not the victim of domestic violence and did not see any visible injuries. Heard would also not give a statement. When asked why he did not ask Heard to move into better lighting to further check if there were injuries on her face, and why he didn’t interview her friends, Gatlin said they all told him everything was fine. “There was no change in circumstances from the previous call [to the police], so we did not go further” into investigating, he said.

Romero also told the jury that he saw Heard a few days after the incident, and did not see any signs of injury on her face — though he acknowledged he was not looking for bruises or swelling and she could have been wearing makeup.

Christian Carino, a talent agent at Creative Artists Agency who used to represent both Depp and Heard, testified Wednesday afternoon and said he was close friends with both. His friendship with Depp ended when the actor left CAA, he said, and his friendship with Heard ended when the “legal dispute” started, though he said he holds no animosity toward either of them.

Carino said he acted as somewhat of a confidant and conduit between the two of them after their split. Depp’s lawyer read texts from 2017 between Heard and Carino, in which Heard said she missed Depp and complained about going through a public breakup with Tesla CEO Elon Musk. Carino texted back he didn’t understand why Heard was so upset when “you told me a thousand times you were just filling space” with Musk, and advised her that if she didn’t want to go through public breakups, she should stop dating famous men.

In both his testimony and cross-examination, Carino said it was his opinion that Heard’s domestic-abuse allegations were what cost Depp his role as Captain Jack Sparrow in Disney’s “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise.

The agent said he based that opinion on conversations with executives at CAA and “Pirates” producer Jerry Bruckheimer, who did not bring up Heard’s specific allegations, but, according to Carino, said that the studio was having difficulty employing Depp.

Depp’s lawyer pointed out that Heard’s Post op-ed was published Dec. 18, 2018, and two days later, headlines appeared saying that Disney executive Sean Bailey confirmed that Depp would not be moving forward as Jack Sparrow. (That news surfaced in a Hollywood Reporter article on Dec. 20, 2018.) When Heard’s attorney asked if there had been other problems with Depp on set, such as alcohol or drug use or being late, Carino said he only heard about Depp’s lateness.

“I’m aware of him being tardy, but he’s been tardy on everything in his entire life,” he said, adding that crews on Depp’s film sets have learned to “deal with it.”

The afternoon wrapped up with Laura Wasser, Depp’s divorce attorney, who clarified the timeline of the divorce proceedings. Testimony will resume Thursday.

Leave a Comment