- In recently released audio, Amber Heard admits to starting fights and hitting her then-husband Johnny Depp.
- Depp’s lawyer confirmed the authenticity of the tape and said it details a pattern of physical and emotional abuse by Heard.
- Heard’s lawyer, however, said the tape does not mean that Heard isn’t also a victim.
- The tape is the latest development in a bitter feud between the former couple, both of whom have alleged domestic abuse by the other.
Heard Admits to Hitting Depp in Audio
In audio that surfaced Friday, Amber Heard admits to hitting her then-husband Johnny Depp during a 2015 informal therapy session.
The recording, which was obtained by the Daily Mail, was later confirmed to be authentic by Depp’s lawyer, Adam Waldman.
In it, Depp and Heard discuss their marriage in several heated exchanges.
Heard: “I didn’t punch you.”
Depp: “And I watched you lie.”
Heard: “I didn’t punch you, by the way. I’m sorry that I didn’t hit you across the face in a proper slap, but I was hitting you. It was not punching you. Babe, you’re not punched.”
Depp: “Don’t tell me what it feels like to be punched.”
Later in the conversation, Heard calls Depp a baby.
Depp: “Because you start physical fights.“
Heard: “You are such a baby, grow the fuck up Johnny.”
Depp: “Because you start physical fights.”
Heard: “I did start a physical fight.”
Depp: “Yeah, you did, so I had to get the fuck out of there.”
Heard: “Yes, you did, so you did the right thing, the big thing, you know what? You are admirable. Every single time. What’s your excuse? When there’s not a physical fight, then what’s the excuse there? You’re still being admirable, right? Just by running away? And you can sit here and call me names, but you get called a name and what do you do? ‘That’s the last insult!’”
Several minutes later, the exchange becomes calmer. Depp tells Heard he loves her and that he does not want a divorce, but he also says the physical violence has to stop.
Depp: “Because I love you, and I do not want to leave you. I do not want a divorce, I do not want you out of my life. I just want peace. If things get physical, we have to separate.“
Heard then promises to change.
Heard: “I can’t promise that I’ll be perfect. I can’t promise you I won’t get physical again. God, I fucking sometimes get so mad I lose it. I can fucking promise you I’m going to do everything to change.”
While the two actors have not publicly spoken on the tape, Waldman said it displays a pattern of behavior common by abusers.
“The first confessional tape she made reveals a conversation any real abuse victim will recognize all too well,” he told USA Today. “It exposes that Ms. Heard perpetrated serial violence against Mr. Depp, and then concocted an elaborate abuse hoax to cover it up. Ms. Heard gives a motive for her violence: Mr. Depp was always trying to ‘split’ to escape her abuse.”
On the other hand, Heard’s lawyer, Roberta Kaplan, didn’t confirm or deny the video but said in a statement.
“The fact that a woman fights or talks back does not mean that she has not been the subject of repeated domestic violence and abuse,” Kaplan said. “It’s a myth to say, as Mr. Depp apparently is implying, that if Ms. Heard slapped him, then she can’t also be a victim. That is just not true.”
Heard Alleges Abuse Against Depp
Heard and Depp met on the set of the 2011 film, The Rum Diary. By February 2015, the two were married; however, by May the following year, Heard filed for divorce, citing “irreconcilable differences.”
“During the entirety of our relationship, Johnny has been verbally and physically abusive to me,” she said. “I endured excessive emotional, verbal and physical abuse from Johnny, which has included angry hostile, humiliating and threatening assaults to me whenever I questioned his authority or disagreed with him.”
“Johnny has a long-held and widely-acknowledged public and private history of drug and alcohol abuse,” she added. “He has a short fuse. He is often paranoid and his temper is exceptionally scary for me as it has proven many times to be physically dangerous and/or life-threatening to me. Johnny[‘s] relationship with reality oscillates, depending upon his interaction with alcohol and drugs.”
With her filing, Heard also submitted images of herself with bruises on her face.
A few days after that filing, she applied for and was granted a restraining order against Depp.
Then, in August 2016, TMZ released a video of Depp throwing a wine bottle and a glass while Heard stands nearby. In the video, Depp is yelling and appears noticeably angry. For her part, Heard later denied leaking the clip.
Later that month, she and Depp reached a $7 million divorce settlement. Heard then announced she would be donating that entire amount to the ACLU and the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles. After additional back and forth with attorney fees, the divorce was finalized in January 2017.
Heard Publishes Washington Post Op-Ed
The feud then, at least publicly, died down until October 2018, while speaking with British GQ, Depp spoke on the matter.
“The thing that hurt me is being presented as something that you’re really as far away from as you could possibly get, you know?” he said.
Heard’s attorney then responded in an interview with Page Six, calling Depp’s statement “outrageous.”
“Mr. Depp is shamefully continuing his psychological abuse of Ms. Heard, who has attempted to put a very painful part of her life firmly in her past,” the statement said. “One need only look at the physical evidence to draw the proper conclusion.”
In December 2018, Heard followed up her claims in an op-ed for The Washington Post titled, “I spoke up against sexual violence — and faced our culture’s wrath. That has to change.”
In that op-ed, Heard never directly mentions Depp by name but speaks about “how institutions protect men accused of abuse,” likening Depp to the Titanic and the institutions to workers trying to repair a sinking ship.
“Like many women, I had been harassed and sexually assaulted by the time I was of college age,” she said. “But I kept quiet — I did not expect filing complaints to bring justice. And I didn’t see myself as a victim.”
“Then two years ago, I became a public figure representing domestic abuse,” she added, “and I felt the full force of our culture’s wrath for women who speak out.”
In the article, Heard also said her role in a movie had been recast, a global fashion brand dropped her, and she had faced doubts that she would be able to keep her role in Aquaman. Despite this, Depp’s team have largely accused Heard of making the allegations to “advance her career” and “extend her 15 minutes of fame.”
A few days after that op-ed, Depp was dropped from any future Pirates of the Caribbean films. Just prior to that in November, Depp had faced a wall of criticism on social media for his role as the titular antagonist in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.
Dear Mr. Tsujihara.— justme (@justme_relax) November 17, 2018
As a fan of Harry Potter and WB/DC films and shows, I am deeply disappointed by the casting of Johnny Depp in Fantastic Beasts series. He abused his ex-wife Amber Heard, who happened to star in Aquaman, which is also a Warner Brothers film.
Depp Sues Heard for Defamation
In January 2019, the feud between the former couple began to take a massive turn when Depp’s attorney reportedly told E! News that they had “filed a partial list of evidence that we will use to disprove the fraudulent underlying allegations against Mr. Depp.”
Among that list included “dozens of video security tapes,” “eyewitness statements” and “sworn affidavits and deposition transcripts from 2016.”
In March, Depp then sued Heard for $50 million in a defamation lawsuit, with that lawsuit alleging that it wasn’t Heard but Depp who was the victim of abuse. The lawsuit also blamed Heard’s op-ed for him being dropped from Pirates of the Caribbean.
In retaliation, Heard filed a motion to dismiss the complaint, but that was later denied.
Depp then submitted a declaration of support for his lawsuit, with that letter alleging that Heard had painted on her bruises. Depp also said that Heard caused him “serious bodily injury,” that she was abusive while on a mix of “prescription amphetamines and non-prescription drugs with alcohol,” and that she had “hit, punched and kicked” him and “frequently threw objects into [his] body and head.” Notably, this included “heavy bottles, soda cans, burning candles, television remote controls, and paint thinner cans, which severely injured [him].”
With his allegations, Depp provided his own set of photos showing alleged bruises on his face, as well as a photo showing a partially severed finger that he said he suffered after asking Heard to sign a post-nuptial agreement. Heard then allegedly got so mad she started throwing bottles at him, with Depp claiming that one exploded when hitting a countertop, ripping off the tip of his finger in the process.
In addition to physical abuse, Depp is also alleging that Heard put him through emotional abuse, saying that at one point, she or one of her friends defecated in his bed as a prank.
During this time, Heard responded with more photos of her own that allegedly show bruises, as well as a clump of hair she said was ripped out by Depp.
Joe Rogan Says Grimes Did Not Give Dave Chappelle COVID-19
- Comedian Dave Chappelle is under quarantine after testing positive for COVID-19. He is asymptomatic and his remaining shows in Austin, Texas have been canceled.
- The news comes just days after Chappelle was photographed with Joe Rogan, Elon Musk, Grimes, and several others backstage at one of his Austin performances.
- “Because people are asking, I was not exposed to the person who had covid and I have tested negative every day this week,” Rogan wrote on Instagram Friday. “Also, the person that gave covid to Dave was NOT Elon’s partner @grimes.”
Chappelle Tests Positive
Comedian Dave Chappelle has tested positive for coronavirus and is currently under quarantine, according to one of his representatives.
In a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, that rep also confirmed that he is currently asymptomatic and has canceled all of his remaining shows at Stubbs Waller Creek Amphitheater in Austin, Texas.
“Chappelle has safely conducted socially-distanced shows in Ohio since June 2020 and he moved those shows to Austin during the winter,” the statement read.
“Chappelle implemented COVID-19 protocols which included rapid testing for the audience and daily testing for himself and his team. His diligent testing enabled him to immediately respond by quarantining, thus mitigating the spread of the virus,” it continued.
Joe Rogan Speaks Out After He Was Photographed With Chappelle
Two of the remaining Austin shows were supposed to include fellow comedian Joe Rogan. Rogan took to Instagram Friday morning to announce that they will be rescheduled as soon as possible.
Still, many fans had questions about Rogan’s current state of health. The news of Chappelle’s positive test comes just days after he was photographed maskless with Rogan, Tesla CEO Elon Musk, musician Grimes, and several others backstage at one of his Austin performances.
Since Grimes, who is also in a relationship with Musk, recently had COVID, many were concerned that she may have exposed the group. Others wondered if Chappelle may have spread it.
Rogan eventually updates his Instagram caption to dismiss the ideas.
“Because people are asking, I was not exposed to the person who had covid and I have tested negative every day this week,” he wrote.“Also, the person that gave covid to Dave was NOT Elon’s partner @grimes.”
See what others are saying: (The Hollywood Reporter) (CNN) (AP News)
Netflix Passes 200M Subscribers as Other Streamers Struggle With Retention
- In a letter to shareholders, Netflix said it has hit over 200 million subscribers following a successful year of growth.
- The pandemic gave Netflix a significant subscriber boost in March and April. The company continued to perform well even in its final quarter, gaining 8.5 million subscribers when it was only projected to add 6 million.
- The data also highlights how relatively unaffected Netflix has been by new streaming services entering the market. While companies like Disney+, HBO Max, and Peacock continue to grow, they also struggle to retain the subscribers that sign up.
Netflix Passes 200 Million Subscribers
Netflix has topped 200 million subscribers following a year of strong growth in 2020.
In its Tuesday letter to shareholders, Netflix announced that it added 8.5 million subscribers in its fourth quarter. This exceeds projections, which estimated the streaming giant would only add around 6 million. In total, Netflix gained 37 million new memberships throughout 2020, bringing the company to 203.6 million subscribers.
Pandemic lockdowns gave Netflix a substantial boost in March in April. In the company’s first two quarters, it added a combined 25.7 million subscribers. According to data from the letter, Netflix had added over 10 million more subscribers by May of 2020 than it had by May of 2019.
When it comes to the success of their fourth quarter, Netflix pointed to shows like “Bridgerton” and “The Crown.” The fourth season of “The Crown” hit the platform in November, prompting many to return to older seasons of the show. Netflix claims the series has been viewed by 100 million households since it first aired in 2016.
Success Amid Growth of Competition
The year 2020 could have been a difficult one for Netflix as new streaming services entered the market. Disney+, Apple TV+, HBO Max, Peacock and more have all made waves with their original programming or by taking some of their brand’s content from Netflix to host on their own site. User-based content on YouTube and TikTok also became increasingly popular throughout the pandemic, further posing as a threat to Netflix.
Still, it reached a massive milestone.
“Our strategy is simple: if we can continue to improve Netflix every day to better delight our members, we can be their first choice for streaming entertainment,” Netflix said in the letter. “This past year is a testament to this approach.”
Netflix potentially sees Disney+ as the biggest competitor among new platforms. In its letter, the company noted that the streamer added 87 million subscribers in its first year. In a Q&A, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings seemed enthusiastic about this competition.
“It’s super impressive what Disney’s done,” he said. “It’s going to be great for the world that Disney and Netflix are competing show-by-show, movie-by-movie. We’re very fired up about catching them in family animation, maybe eventually passing them, we’ll see. It’s a long way to go just to catch them, and maintaining our lead in general entertainment that’s so stimulating like ‘Bridgerton,’ which I don’t think you’re going to see on Disney anytime soon.”
Streamers Struggle with Retaining Subscribers
Even as new streamers have had impressive years, there is one hurdle that many are still struggling to jump over: retaining the subscribers who sign up. The Los Angeles Times named Disney+, HBO Max, Peacock, and Apple TV+ in particular, writing that people create accounts with these services, watch the TV shows or movies they are interested in, and cancel once they are done.
An October survey from Deloitte said that 46% of respondents canceled at least one streaming service in the last 6 months, which is up 20% from January of last year. Most who had canceled said they did so because they had finished watching whatever programming it was that brought them to that service.
Places like Disney+ and HBO Max are really vulnerable to this because they have banked on drawing people in with exclusive marquis titles like “Hamilton” or “Wonder Woman 1984.” However, since they are newer, they are still building their original programming catalog, meaning that people can quickly burn through highlight titles.
See what others are saying: (Los Angeles Times) (Wall Street Journal) (The Hollywood Reporter)
Paramount+ To Launch March 4
- ViacomCBS is launching Paramount+ in the United States and Latin America on March 4 before rolling out to other markets internationally later this year.
- The streaming service will be a relaunch and expansion of CBS All Access. It will include content from Nickelodeon, MTV, and more on top of the CBS-focused selection.
Paramount+ Gets Launch Date
ViacomCBS will be launching its streaming service Paramount+ in the U.S. and Latin America on March 4 before rolling out in more countries throughout the year.
It will be an expansion and rebrand of CBS All Access, the service the company currently offers that is used by nearly 8 million subscribers. Paramount+ will go beyond the CBS-centric content promoted there, including works from brands like Nickelodeon, MTV, BET, Comedy Central, and the Smithsonian Channel.
More details about their streaming strategy will be released during an investor event on February 24. Right now, ViacomCBS is boasting that the service will have over 30,000 episodes and movies in their catalog, which will also include live sports and breaking news.
“The Paramount brand is known and loved all around the world, and is synonymous with great entertainment. It’s always brought people together, which makes it a perfect fit for a streaming service that’s uniquely positioned to do the same,” Josh Line the chief brand officer of ViacomCBS said during a brand announcement in September. “The Paramount+ streaming service will elevate ViacomCBS’ iconic family of brands.”
State of the Streaming Wars
Paramount+ has already announced a slew of original projects including a revival of “iCarly” and a series about the making of “The Godfather” titled “The Offer.”
The service is entering an already crowded battlefield as the streaming wars wages on. It will have plenty of uphill battles to fight since brand recognition for Paramount is not nearly as strong as it is for studios like Disney or NBCUniversal. It will also have to compete with Netflix, which leads the pack in subscribers and unveils new content regularly; HBO Max, which will be home to Warner Media’s new theatrical releases; and Hulu, which hosts original content as well as shows currently airing on cable and network television.
ViacomCBS has not released information on pricing, but that will likely come during or before the February investor event.