Emma Thompson Weighs in on Whether Johnny Depp-Amber Heard Verdict Will Impact #MeToo Movement

After Johnny Depp won his defamation trial against Amber Heard, she called the verdict a "setback" for women. Find out what Emma Thompson had to say about the case in relation to the #MeToo movement.

By Corinne Heller Jun 09, 2022 11:34 PMTags
Watch: See Johnny Depp's FIRST TikTok Video After Joining the Platform

Emma Thompson is not convinced Johnny Depp's legal victory against Amber Heard will affect the #MeToo movement.

Last week, the actor won a defamation lawsuit against his ex-wife over a newspaper opinion piece she published, in which she called herself "a public figure representing domestic abuse" but didn't explicitly name her ex-husband. Heard was ordered to pay Depp more than $10 million. In a statement, she called the verdict a "setback" for women, adding, "It sets back the clock to a time when a woman who spoke up and spoke out could be publicly shamed and humiliated. It sets back the idea that violence against women is to be taken seriously."

Thompson, 63, said on BBC Radio 4's BBC Women's Hour that while she did not follow the trial, she thinks the #MeToo movement, which aims to curb sexual misconduct against women, "is not going to be derailed" by the actors' court case.

Viral Moments From Johnny Depp and Amber Heard's Defamation Trial

"One of the great issues to do with that case is fame and how people who are famous are treated differently and viewed differently," she said. "The #MeToo movement is not going to be derailed by that, but in order for it not to be derailed, we just have to keep on talking. We have to keep on talking and refuse to allow it to be derailed by a case [with] two very, very, very famous people."

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She added, "A case where the two protagonists are that famous is not representative. And it's just very important to remember that this movement—which is about human kindness and is just so simple, really, and has been made so complicated—cannot and will not be derailed by one case."

Thompson is a vocal critic of sexism who dropped out of the animated film Luck in 2019 after its production company Skydance Media hired former Pixar head John Lasseter, who was forced to leave Pixar's parent firm Disney the previous year following complaints about unwanted touching in the workplace, which surfaced in 2017.

In a letter sent to Skydance's management and published in The Los Angeles Times, Thompson wrote, "It feels very odd to me that you and your company would consider hiring someone with Mr. Lasseter's pattern of misconduct given the present climate in which people with the kind of power that you have can reasonably be expected to step up to the plate."

Skydance never responded publicly to Thompson's remarks.

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Per Deadline, after Lasseter was hired as Skydance's animation chief, he told employees at a 2019 company town hall, "I am deeply sorry for my actions, which were unquestionably wrong. I very much regret making women feel unsafe or disrespected. I will continue to work every day for the rest of my life to prove to you that I have grown and learned."

According to Variety, Skydance CEO David Ellison said in a memo to staff that "John has been forthright in taking ownership of his behavior, apologized for his actions and has spent the past year on sabbatical analyzing and improving his workplace behavior."

Ellison added that his company "employed outside counsel to thoroughly investigate" the "serious" allegations against Lasseter and that "while we would never minimize anyone's subjective views on behavior, we are confident after many substantive conversations with John, and as the investigation has affirmed, that his mistakes have been recognized. We are certain that John has learned valuable lessons and is ready to prove his capabilities as a leader and a colleague."

Both Depp, 59, and Heard, 36, had accused each other of domestic violence during their six-week trial, which aired live on TV and online and spurred fan-made video clips to go viral. While ruling that the actress defamed her ex with her article, the Virginia jury also ruled in her favor on one counterclaim against her ex, ordering him to pay her $2 million in damages because his lawyer called her accusations a "hoax." 

Heard first made her allegations against Depp when she filed for divorce in 2016. In a statement issued following his legal victory, he said, "Six years ago, my life, the life of my children, the lives of those closest to me, and also, the lives of the people, who for many, many years have supported and believed in my were forever changed. All in the blink of an eye."

He said the "false" allegations "triggered an endless barrage of hateful content." Depp continued, "It had already traveled around the world twice within a nanosecond and it had a seismic impact on my life and my career. And six years later, the jury gave me my life back. I am truly humbled."

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