The Basement

Discovery+ Johnny vs Amber Documentary Exposes the Folly of Depp’s Case

Though they were essentially even-handed, compressing the evidence in the UK trial into two one-hour parts was particularly brutal for team Depp.

When multiple documentaries on the tumultuous relationship between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard were announced last summer, the Depp-o-sphere went into panic mode. Making pacts not to view it, they instead made plans to boycott anything even remotely related to the networks producing and airing them. In hindsight, it appears the only thing they had to fear was a rehashing of the UK trial Depp lost. It puts fresh into the public’s mind just how effective QC Sasha Wass was at gutting and dissecting Team Depp’s testimony. Though they were essentially even-handed, compressing the evidence in the UK trial into two one-hour parts was particularly brutal for team Depp. Here are my observations:

  • The contentions Amber Heard’s injuries were self-inflicted and/or ‘painted on’ with makeup sound more bizarre now than when Adam Waldman and company first floated that lie.
  • Bill Hanti, a bandmate of Depp’s, sounds like he’s been jilted by in favor of Amber Heard. Reminded me of when T-Bird Sonny from #Grease angrily told Danny “When a guy picks a chick over his buddies, something’s gotta be wrong!”
  • David Sherborne pretending Heard visiting Depp during the restraining order was an unusual thing. It isn’t. In fact, a lot of effort was made by Depp’s side to discredit what people often do in domestic violence cases – protect the other and try to reconcile.
  • David Sherborne doesn’t come across particularly strong when he’s still denying the plane incident took place (or Amber’s version of it) which is directly contradicted by Depp’s own texts on the matter. In the same breath, he excuses it by saying Heard started the argument.
  • As the documentary states, it was these texts that tilted this case in Heard’s favor. It had to be embarrassing to Team Depp to see the actor’s testimony corrected several times by his own texts, prompting Hollywood Reporter legal reporter Eriq Gardner to advise Depp to fire his lawyers.
  • Minnie Stevenson, reporter for Channel 4 News, points out the psychological abuse and the subtle controlling tactics employed by Depp. The “cutting” recording is particularly eerie in the context of controlling behavior. The ‘I’ll hurt myself or worse if you don’t do as I say’ gambit is a tried-and-true method of keeping someone in check.
  • In regard to the first point on Amber Heard’s bruising, Wass’s mention of bruising and how they often form later is particularly enlightening. This medical fact has always undercut Team Depp’s contention that there was no bruising immediately after she was struck by Depp but was ‘magically’ there later by way of makeup. Depp’s side to this day will still try to deny the nature of bruising.
  • Depp’s side has also ridiculed the notion Heard, her family, and friends have had death threats. But given the toxicity of this group – which includes attacking several famous people for siding with Heard or taking over a role Depp formerly had – this hardly seems implausible.
  • Was happy to see Christopher Bouzy once again confirm paid trolls and bots were engaged to discredit Ms. Heard. As shown in the documentary, Depp promised to globally humiliate Ms. Heard and this was obvious the route taken. The idea this was even possible was, at one time, met with resistance even among Heard’s fans. As shown in the doc, though, Bouzy’s company, Bot Sentinel, discovered close to 6000 fake or inauthentic accounts targeting Ms. Heard with a “disinformation campaign.”  “Definitely a smear campaign… a coordinated influence campaign…you really didn’t have to be a pro to see it… one of the most sophisticated online targeted attacks we’d seen.”
  • Though both parts were about as evenhanded as could be based on the history of the case, seeing the events of part 2 compressed to less than an hour was particularly brutal for Depp’s side.

About the author

J Davis

J is a former rock star, former DJ, comic book & political historian, and novelist who once read the ingredients on a chewing gum wrapper and unlocked the secrets of the universe.


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  • J Davis,

    Firstly, you hit the nail on the head in regards mean spirited Bill Hanti who spoke ill of Amber. His ugly comments didn’t help Johnny Depp one bit.

    Secondly, I don’t agree with your take on the bruises however. Adam Waldman arriving to the conclusion Amber’s bruises were painted-on was based on police statements.

    Lastly, though you acknowledge both sides were presented even handedly, to my mind your review favors Amber.

    Glad to see somebody put a review out there. You were the first so my hat goes off to you for that.

    • Paul, thank you for your civility. The amount of coverage given to Bill Hanti was bizarre. He wasn’t exactly honest either. It’s well-known Depp’s problems with violence, drugs, and alcohol goes back to the 1980s.

      Police reports never said or implied Amber Heard painted on bruises. Nor did Waldman arrive at that conclusion based on police reports. One police officer plainly stated Heard’s face was red, as though she’d been crying, the night of the event in question but did not appear bruised. Waldman apparently decided to take advantage of people’s ignorance on how bruising works. It has been mentioned by many discussing this case, and by QC Sasha Wass in both the court case and in the documentary, that bruising usually happens hours – even days – after the event that causes them. Medical fact.

      • Thanks for this J. I will look closer at the evidence. I understood Amber was not bruised when officers arrived but emerged bruised the following day. People siding with Amber. People siding with Johnny. Im like you. I look at the facts minus the emotion. Wouldn’t it be nice if Johnny and Amber just kissed and made up? Happy New Year. I sure do appreciate your civility as well. Let’s see what the New Year brings. Reach out to me anytime via e-mail. Take it from a guy who knows– Lots of dirty secrets smoldering beneath the red carpet.