On Wednesday, today aired part two of an exclusive interview with actress Amber Heard – her first televised sit-down after she lost a explosive libel lawsuit against her ex-husband, actor Johnny Depp. Among other revelations, the 36-year-old claimed she still “loved” Depp and denied wanting to “break him down” in her comment at the center of the case.
During the Virginia trial, which ended June 1, a jury ruled that Heard had defamed Depp when The Washington Post posted a comment under her byline in 2018 describing herself as a victim of domestic violence. Depp was awarded $15 million in damages but will only receive $10.35 million due to a state cap on punitive damages. The jury also awarded Heard $2 million in damages after finding that she was defamed by Depp’s attorney Adam Waldman after he accused Heard of framed a “joke” on Depp.
Despite winning that particular counterclaim, as well as a 2020 lawsuit in the UK that found Depp had abused Heard on 12 out of 14 occasions, Heard has been widely dismissed as a liar by Depp’s legion of obsessively devoted fans on social media and in his Hollywood been portrayed in public peers since she first alleged abuse in 2016. Similarly, Guthrie seemed skeptical about this Aquaman Star during their one-on-one, pressed them on footage and other evidence presented by Team Depp while conveniently ignoring much of the footage and other evidence offered by Heard. (The UK trial admitted far more evidence than the Virginia trial, which may help explain the different outcome.)
In the first half of the interview, which aired Monday, the news anchor questioned the actress about whether she instigated physical violence against Depp, asked her about footage that Heard claims was taken out of context, and shared with her with that the First Amendment does not protect “lies”. At the end of the interview, Guthrie appeared equally cynical and unhappy with Heard’s responses, telling the actress that her “reference” to Depp in her comment was “unmistakable.” She also asked Heard if she tipped TMZ to take photos of her with a bruise when she filed a restraining order against Depp in 2016. For the most part, their questioning did not go beyond information not already gathered during the trial, which Heard denied, and lacked any insight into abuse.
It’s not the first time that a television presenter has been insensitive to the issue of domestic violence or unaware of how survivors adjust to violent situations with their partners. (Check out Barbara Walters’ interview with Rihanna after her incident with Chris Brown, or Gayle King’s interview with FKA Twigs about her allegations against Shia LaBeouf). However, viewers and journalists remain stunned that Guthrie was allowed to interview Heard at all.
The week before, Guthrie revealed that her husband, Michael Feldman, had been working as a counsel for Depp’s legal team during the defamation trial, just before she conducted an interview with Depp’s attorneys, Camille Vasquez and Benjamin Chew. The interview went viral on Twitter and was immediately met with backlash from users who claimed a conflict of interest.
“The week before, Guthrie revealed that her husband, Michael Feldman, had been working as a counsel for Depp’s legal team during the defamation trial, just before she conducted an interview with Depp’s attorneys, Camille Vasquez and Benjamin Chew.”
“If I were Amber Heard’s publicist or public relations person, I probably wouldn’t grant my client’s first major interview with someone who disclosed a conflict of interest.” wrote a Twitter user.
“If Guthrie is to continue doing these interviews, TODAY must make much larger disclaimers that Guthrie was personally enriched by her husband’s consulting appearance through the Depp PR team. Posted Another. “The blatant conflict of interest is so disrespectful to Ms. Heard.”
Journalist experts have since commented on the controversy in a shop indoorsr reportcalled Guthrie’s decision to interview Depp’s attorneys “a bit crazy” and highlighted a “financial stake” as Feldman could be reinstated if Heard tries to appeal the jury’s verdict.
While Heard has yet to speak to her reps about the controversy, sources in the same article say that Heard and her team were aware of Guthrie’s connection to the case and agreed to proceed with the interview, which will end in an hour date line Special broadcast on Friday.
While it’s hard to imagine the thought behind the arranging of this interview and its use in a subsequent editorial, it’s possible that Heard, who was publicly sympathetic to the jury and Depp’s supporters, wanted the public to know that she looked at herself one could engage in polite conversation with someone closely associated with their critics. Still, it seems odd and utterly unwise that Heard’s team would allow her client to undergo Guthrie’s poor, unbiased questioning for her first major post-trial television appearance, given the amount of journalists presumably keen to secure an exclusive deal with the to land actress.
Regardless of the intent or knowledge Heard and her team gained prior to the interview, the fact that Heard spent the majority of the session again defending herself against widespread claims is another tragedy for the actress whose Status regarding the upcoming Aquaman Sequel is up in the air. Ultimately, the saddest part of the fiasco is how completely avoidable it was.