Back in 2017, when Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell no Tales was released, director Joachim Rønning confirmed this wasn’t the end of the franchise, then later in the year producer Jerry Bruckheimer suggested the sixth instalment was in development.
Anyone who’s been a fan of the Disney franchise since its very first instalment in 2003, The Curse of the Black Pearl, probably can’t fathom the next movie being any good without the iconic and witty Captain Jack Sparrow making an appearance. But after Amber Heard—Depp’s ex-wife—published a 2018 op-ed in the Washington Post where she claimed to be a survivor of domestic abuse, the actor alleged that his reputation and his career were ruined because of it, resulting in him being dropped from several big-budget franchises in the aftermath of its publication.
One of those projects was the sixth instalment of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. At the time, when Depp fans realised the legendary actor was not going to be involved in the highly anticipated addition—which led to it stalling in pre-production—they launched a Change.org petition addressed to Disney, pleading the mass media giant to bring back Depp’s role.
“Amber Heard ruined Johnny Depp’s life as well as career. […] This man never disappoints when he makes a movie, so why continue to keep him from doing Pirates of the Caribbean?? That movie is nothing without him! Please sign this petition to help Johnny Depp get back to what he enjoys and does best. If men get ridiculed for hitting women, and lose their jobs/career, then that’s exactly what should be happening to Amber Heard,” reads the petition’s overview.
Though it was created over two years ago, the attention Depp has received more recently—since he’s been battling it out with Heard in a $50 million defamation lawsuit that has been making the news on a daily basis—has also impacted the petition’s number of signatures.
Now, sitting at over 618,000 signatures and counting, according to Change, the petition is on its way to becoming one of the most signed ones on the platform. Many Depp advocates are also sharing their support for the actor in the petition’s comments section. One wrote, “He isn’t an angel but he is innocent! Amber Turd should be ashamed of herself,” highlighting the fact that, no matter the final verdict, the Aquaman actress’ own experience has been demonised from the very beginning of the trial. “Victims of domestic violence shouldn’t be penalised,” wrote another about Depp.
Regardless of whether the viral petition hits 1 million signatures or not, however, Depp himself has admitted in the past that even if Disney tried to bring him back, he wouldn’t accept the offer. In fact, he even said that if the entertainment company offered him “$300 million and a million alpacas,” he would refuse to come back to Pirates of the Caribbean.
The actor explained that he felt betrayed by the studio, saying: “Having added much of myself, much of my own rewriting, the dialogue, the scenes, the jokes, I didn’t quite understand how after that long relationship and quite a successful relationship with Disney that… suddenly I was guilty until proven innocent.”
More recently, another petition has surfaced online, one asking for Heard to be removed from Aquaman’s sequel. It currently has just under 4 million signatures.
It’s everywhere at the minute—you wouldn’t be able to avoid it even if you wanted to. The current US trial involving Johnny Depp and Amber Heard centres on a lawsuit the Pirates of the Caribbean actor filed against his ex-wife for an op-ed she wrote in The Washington Post following their divorce. The 2018 article detailed, in Heard’s own words, how she had become a “public figure representing domestic abuse.”
Though the piece did not mention Depp by name, the actor has maintained in court papers that it clearly referred to their relationship and that both his reputation and career were “devastated” as a result. In his lawsuit filed in March 2019, Depp denied that he was a domestic abuser and said that Heard’s accusations were an “elaborate hoax” intended to boost her public persona—one that succeeded in making her a “darling of the #MeToo movement.”
Instead, Depp is now trying to prove that the Aquaman actress had been the perpetrator of abuse herself, not him—accusing her in court papers of punching, kicking and throwing objects at him, including a bottle of vodka that he said shattered on the countertop and severed the tip of one of his fingers. Long story short, after losing his libel case against the British tabloid The Sun and having to forfeit his role in the Fantastic Beasts film series (among many other career opportunities), Depp has been on a mission to clear his name. And it looks like things are finally going his way.
In testimony on Tuesday 19 April, Depp denied ever striking Heard—or any woman for that matter. Then, during more than five hours of testimony the next day, the jury heard snippets of recorded arguments between the couple. Those included audio of Depp confronting Heard about kicking a door into his head the previous night and Heard asking, “Why are you obsessing over the fact that I can’t remember it the way you remember it?”
Heard, who is expected to take the stand later in the trial, has given a very different account of the incident, writing in court papers that her ex-husband became violent with her during an argument surrounding his drug use.
As the internet’s opinion on the case continues to shift in favour of Depp and more evidence being presented against the American actress—just take a quick look at your TikTok FYP and you’ll be flooded with montages of some of the trial’s most controversial moments—one user seems to believe they’ve cracked a mind game Heard is playing with Depp.
In a video posted on Wednesday 20 April, Dani Dell’Olio looked at the two celebrities’ outfits as they both attended court throughout the trial so far. She highlighted the fact that whatever Depp is wearing on the day, Heard is seen wearing something very similar to it the very next—insinuating that this behaviour is proof of her obsession with the actor.
As stated in a Marca article, “One of the last public appearances in which Johnny Depp was spotted before this trial, he wore an all-black shirt with a black tie and a completely grey suit. Amber Heard wore the exact same outfit on the first day of the trial. On that same day, Depp decided to wear a black Gucci bee tie, Amber Heard wore the exact same tie on the next day.”
The publication continued, “Johnny wore all black on that day and Heard wore all black on the third day of the trial. It’s evident she is just leaving the trial and going to buy the exact same outfit [he] wore, but why is she doing this? Is it to play mind games with Depp or is she just mocking him?”
Many of you will recognise the saying ‘you are what you wear’ and interestingly, in this case, Heard is quite literally wearing whatever her accuser dons the day prior. Is that her own attempt at making herself look like the victim once more, since she’s now being the one accused of physical and mental abuse?