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A change.org petition calling for Amber Heard to be axed from Aquaman 2 has today reached three million signatures.
Heard starred as Mera in the original film in 2018 with Jason Momoa and Nicole Kidman, and the sequel is due in cinemas next March.
Her ex, Johnny Depp, was dropped by Disney in his role as Captain Jack Sparrow in the sixth instalment of Pirates of the Caribbean, after Heard alleged he had domestically abused her.
“I will not be going to view Aquaman 2 if Amber is playing the role,” one fan tweeted. “I can’t support a project that fires the victim and kept the abuser.”
As the petition was gaining steam, and just days before she was due to take the stand in her defamation trial against Depp, Heard is said to have abruptly switched public relations teams to improve her media coverage.
Adding to her frustration was that on the video-sharing app TikTok, more than 1.4 billion people watched videos with the hashtag #johnnydeppisinnocent. A similar hashtag for Heard had just 600,000.
“She doesn’t like bad headlines,” a source told the New York Post.
Another said Heard, 36, is “frustrated with her story not being told effectively.”
The actress dumped crisis PR firm Precision Strategies on Thursday and picked up Shane Communications.
Depp, 58, is suing Heard for $50 million, claiming his ex-wife defamed him in a 2018 op-ed in the Washington Post where she discussed being a victim of domestic violence, though she did not mention Depp in it.
“After years of narrative building, you can’t change the public’s opinion in the three weeks when someone is suing you in a case,” the New York Post quotes a crisis management PR insider.
Lis Smith, a former Pete Buttigieg campaign strategist, said “it’s crazy to change teams in the middle of a trial like this because you don’t like the headlines.”
She said Heard’s previous PR firm, Precision Strategies, is “one of the best crisis firms” — “but they can’t rewrite the history of what’s happened.”
Precision is no slouch at top-notch PRing; it was co-founded by another politico — Obama adviser and deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter.
Precision Strategies, Shane Communications and reps for Depp declined to comment to The Post on Heard’s PR switch.
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Depp has his own legal and PR team working to ensure the headlines are favourable to him.
He fought to have cameras in the courtroom so the trial could be livestreamed, in a move to prevent Heard’s side from spreading misinformation — or at least spinning the details in her favour — out on the courtroom steps.
But he may catch his breath at hearing that Shane is now on Heard’s team: the company previously worked against him on another lawsuit, in which Depp was forced to defend his excessive spending.
Heard is expected to take the stand in Fairfax, Va. tomorrow in John C. Depp II v Amber Laura Heard. The trial is in the fourth week of an expected seven-week duration.
Last week Alejandro Romero, a doorman at the exclusive building where the former couple lived in Los Angeles, gave evidence about the final fight of the two-year marriage.
Testifying by video link while sitting at the wheel of his car, he said he had not seen any marks on Heard’s face after the altercation in May 2016.
The actress appeared shortly after the tiff in a courtroom, her face apparently swollen, to apply for a protective order.
But Romero did not want to dwell on his memories. “I am so stressed out,” he said, puffing on an e-cigarette. “I don’t want to deal with this any more,” he said, starting his car and blowing vapour out of his nostrils.
The court struggled to contain laughter as they listened to the prerecorded testimony.
When Romero’s video ended, Heard’s lawyer Elaine Bredehoft described the testimony, in which Romero finally said that Heard had treated him well, as “the most bizarre deposition” and Judge Penney Azcarate, barely containing a grin, told the jury: “I’ve seen a lot of things, but I’ve never seen that. I’m sorry.”
Depp could be seen shaking his head in wonder.
On another occasion, he was seen to laugh, when Malcolm Connolly, his Scottish bodyguard of 23 years, was asked if the actor had urinated in a hallway during a row with Heard.
“Mr. Depp had his penis out, didn’t he?” Heard’s lawyer asked.
Denying he had witnessed that, Connolly replied: “I think I would’ve remembered seeing Mr. Depp’s penis.”
Depp, who has denied abuse allegations that Heard brought forth in the Washington Post article, told the jury he brought the suit to clear his fallen reputation.
Heard’s lawyers said his denials were not credible because he was often too drunk or high to recall what happened.
— with additional reporting by the Daily Telegraph