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Amber Heard Admits to Hitting Johnny Depp in Recently Released Audio as Bitter Feud Continues

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  • 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. 

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.

See what others are saying: (Newsweek) (Complex) (USA Today)

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Carole Baskin Faces Defamation Suit Brought on by Family of Missing Husband

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  • “Tiger King” star Carole Baskin’s has been sued for defamation by the family of her missing husband, Don Lewis.
  • They claim Baskin is complicit in jokes about his death that appeared on the latest season of “Dancing With the Stars,” where she is currently a contestant.
  • Many believe Baskin played a part in Lewis’ disappearance. and maybe even murdered him, though Baskin has repeatedly denied this.
  • She told TMZ that any jokes about killing or murder in the show are not about Lewis and are actually about the murder-for-hire plots taken against her.

Don Lewis’s Family Sues Carole Baskin

Big Cat Rescue Founder and “Tiger King” star Carole Baskin is facing a defamation suit from the family of her missing husband, Don Lewis. 

The cat lover is on this season of “Dancing With The Stars,” but a few remarks that appeared on the show have now landed her in hot water. Lewis’ three daughters and former assistant think that Baskin has been complicit in jokes about his death that were made on the show. 

Lewis disappeared in 1997 and was legally declared dead in 2002, but the case into his disappearance is still open. After the Netflix docuseries “Tiger King” became one of the most talked about shows of the year, many who watched it became convinced that Baskin killed or hired someone to kill him. She has repeatedly denied this. 

TMZ obtained court documents that reveal what comments Lewis’ family found to be insensitive. Judges on the show joked about TikToks that reference the theory that Baskin killed Lewis. These videos use a song parodying Megan Thee Stallion’s “Savage,” replacing her lyrics with “Carole Baskin, killed her husband, whacked him. Can’t convince me that it didn’t happen. Fed him to tigers, they snackin.”

Lewis’ family believes that Baskin should have spoken out against these jokes, as well as another comment made by a judge who said she “didn’t quite kill the paso double, it was kind of sedated.” Lewis’ daughters found the references to killing and sedation inappropriate. 

The suit also accuses Baskin of playing along and making jokes of her own. During an appearance on Good Morning America, Baskin said she was ready to “really kill it next week.” The family said this was yet another nod to Lewis’ disappearance and theories that she killed him. 

Responses to Suit

The Lewis Family’s lawyer, Jon Phillips, spoke to Entertainment Tonight about this lawsuit. In addition to filing for defamation, they filed for various breaches. Back in 1998, Baskin paid $50,000 in a settlement for libel and slander claims related to this.

“These exact same false statements, and additional ones, are being made again in 2020. It is malicious,” Phillips told Entertainment Tonight. He also told the outlet that Baskin’s current husband Howard is also listed as a defendant in the lawsuit. 

Baskin dismissed the allegations that she was making jokes about Lewis while on “Dancing With The Stars.” She said the idea that she is referencing him when using phrases like “killing it” is a “stretch.”

Baskin told TMZ that any jokes about murder or killing on the show refer to animal abusers who have tried to kill her. Joe Exotic, the main subject of “Tiger King,” is currently serving a 22-year prison sentence for a slew of charges, two of which are related to a murder-for-hire plot against Baskin. 

Ad Taken Out During DWTS

This is not the first “Dancing With The Stars”-related scuffle Baskin and Lewis’ family have had since she joined the show’s cast. During the season premiere, his three daughters, former assistant, and Phillips ran an ad about his disappearance that played in local Florida markets. It offered a $100,000 reward for information related to his case. 

“Don Lewis mysteriously disappeared in 1997. His family deserves answers,” Phillips said in the ad. “They deserve justice. Do you know who did this? Or if Carole Baskin was involved?”

While speaking with Entertainment Tonight, Lewis said that the family chose to run that ad so they could put their side of the story in the public eye. 

“Carole Baskin goes on YouTube, Facebook and does blogs every single day getting out her narrative,” Phillips explained. “It’s landed her on a major TV show, Dancing with the Stars…There was Tiger King — and it focused on the exotic animal industry — but a lot of it was about the death and disappearance of Don Lewis.”

“So [Lewis’ family] wanted their message out there. They wanted, at least locally, to counter message Carole Baskin’s, in their mind, lies and fraud,” he added.

Baskin thought the ad was nothing more than a PR move. 

“I believe their actions are just a publicity stunt, but if it helps us find Don, then that will be a huge relief,” she said in a statement emailed to CNN.

See what others are saying: (TMZ) (Entertainment Tonight) (New York Post)

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Former Ellen Staffers Criticize Talk Show Host’s Apology Monologue

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  • When Ellen DeGeneres returned to her show on Monday, she addressed the numerous reports about the toxic work environment that allegedly existed behind the scenes. She apologized to those who were affected and said changes had been made going forward. 
  • The accusations stated that issues at the show stemmed from top-level producers. Some former staffers said they faced intimidation tactics, racism, and sexual assault and harassment.
  • Her monologue addressing these allegations was praised by some, including singer Demi Lovato, who was happy to see the talk show host return to the studio.
  • However, former employees felt the apology was insincere and self-serving. Some thought that it was inappropriate for DeGeneres to make jokes during it considering the serious nature of the accusations.

Ellen Addresses Allegations

During the opening monologue of her 18th season premiere on Monday, talk show host Ellen DeGeneres addressed the bombshell accusations about the toxic work environment that allegedly existed for employees behind the scenes.

Former staffers, however, were not impressed with what she had to say. 

“How was everybody’s summer, good?” DeGeneres asked in the show’s open. “Mine was great! Super terrific!” 

This joke refers to the several reports that came out over the summer detailing allegations of intimidation tactics, racism, harassment, and more on the set of “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.” Three top producers were also accused of sexual harassment and assault.

Following the reports, WarnerMedia opened an investigation into the show’s workplace, and those three producers were fired in August as a result. In August, the show also announced that its staff will get extra perks, including more paid time off days, birthdays off, as well as paid time for doctors appointments and family matters.

The reports pulled back the curtain on the show, which prides itself on its “Be Kind” mantra. While what went on television may have been filled with dancing and laughter, former staffers said that the toxic culture behind the scenes started with producers at the very top. While DeGeneres herself was not directly implicated in the accusations, many said that since it’s her show, it’s her responsibility.

In her first appearance since everything unfolded, DeGeneres addressed the allegations and apologized for the pain the toxic work culture on her show may have caused. 

“I learned that things happened here that never should have happened. I take that very seriously and I want to say I am so sorry to the people who were affected,” she said. “I know that I am in a position of privilege and power and with that comes responsibility and I take responsibility for what happens at my show.” 

She then moved on to discuss the ideas that her preachings of kindness were fake, and that she is not who she appears to be on television.

DeGeneres explained that she first began ending her show with the saying “be kind to one another” to honor a young boy named Tyler Clementi who took his life after he was bullied for being gay. She thought the message was important then and was equally important now but said being known as the ‘be kind lady’ has put her in a tricky position. 

“So let me give you some advice out there,” she joked. “If anybody’s thinking of changing their title or giving yourself a nickname, do not go with the ‘be kind’ lady. Don’t do it.”

She further added that while she is who the audience sees on TV, she is also more. She explained that she sometimes gets mad, sad, and impatient, but is working on it. She closed her monologue by saying she wants her show to be an hour of escapism for laughter and announced that her DJ Stephen “tWitch” Boss was promoted to co-executive producer.

DeGeneres posted the monologue to her Instagram page where numerous celebrities, including Demi Lovato, Ellie Kemper, and Scott Foley commented in support of the talk show host. 

“You are the person people see on TV. You are kind, generous and caring,” Lovato wrote. “This video was a perfect representation of that. I love you Ellen.”

Criticism of Monologue

Not everyone was satisfied with her remarks. BuzzFeed News, which broke a lot of the allegations about the show, spoke to current and former employees who said her monologue was insensitive and tone deaf. 

“Not only did Ellen turn my trauma, turn our traumas, into a joke, she somehow managed to make this about her,” one former staffer said. 

“When you’re talking about people who have accused her leadership of the seriousness of sexual misconduct, I don’t think it’s appropriate to have jokes in the monologue,” another claimed.

Others thought it would have been more appropriate for DeGeneres or other executives to personally reach out to those who had been affected by the toxic workplace. A current employee on the show said that while she is amazed that DeGeneres decided to address it on the show, she found the monologue to be “tactical.” She said that DeGeneres was only bringing it up to pull viewers back in for premiere week. 

TV critics also panned her monologue. Daniel D’Add wrote for Variety that her words “had a feeling of obligation, and of being over it all.” In The Daily Beast, Kevin Fallon said her speech worked harder to fix her reputation than it did to address the actual issues. 

“It’s depressing when there’s a palpable sense from people in power that the experiences of those beneath them don’t matter,” Fallon wrote, later noting that while there were flaws in the monologue, he still found the fact that she chose to address the allegations on air “monumental.”

See what others are saying: (New York Times) (Entertainment Weekly) (Slate)

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Judge Sides With Nicki Minaj in Tracy Chapman Copyright Dispute

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  • Nicki Minaj recorded her song “Sorry” in 2017, which featured lyrics and melodies from Tracy Chapman’s 1988 song “Baby Can I Hold You.”
  • When Chapman repeatedly refused to give Minaj licensing permission for the track, it was dropped from Minaj’s 2018 “Queen” album. However, the song later leaked on the radio and online, prompting Chapman to file a copyright infringement lawsuit against Minaj.
  • Chapman accused her of distributing the song to a radio DJ and claimed she shouldn’t have even been allowed to record it. 
  • Minaj’s team denied distributing the song and warned that artists need to be able to experiment with existing material without worrying that they could be sued once they actually do approach that rights-holder for a license. 
  • A judge sided with Minaj Wednesday, saying her demo song falls under fair use, adding, “A ruling uprooting these common practices would limit creativity and stifle innovation within the music industry.”

The Two Songs 

A judge has ruled in favor of Nicki Minaj on Wednesday in a copyright infringement lawsuit brought against her by fellow singer Tracy Chapman.

Music lovers and members of the industry have had a close eye on this case, believing it could have a huge impact on the music industry.

The suit stems from a 2017 song Minaj recorded featuring Nas called “Sorry.” At the time, the rapper was reportedly under the impression that the song was a remake of a one created by artist Shelly Thunder. However, she later discovered that most of the lyrics and some of the melody came from Tracy Chapman’s 1988 song “Baby Can I Hold You.”

After learning this, Minaj’s representatives reached out to Chapman for permission to use the song, but Chapman repeatedly refused. According to Chapman, she had a blanket policy against granting such permission, so in 2018, Minaj dropped her “Queen” album without the song “Sorry.”

The unreleased track then somehow made its way into the hands of a New York radio DJ known as Funkmaster Flex, who played it on air. Portions of the track also later aired on “The Breakfast Club,” before leaking online. 

The Lawsuit 

In response, Chapman filed a copyright infringement lawsuit accusing Minaj of providing the DJ with the song and arguing that Minaj shouldn’t have even been allowed to make the unauthorized track in the first place.

Both Minaj and Flex have denied that the song came from her or her authorized representatives. Instead, Flex said he received it from one of his bloggers.

Minaj’s attorneys then filed a motion warning that Chapman’s suit “should send a shiver down the spine of those concerned with the entertainment industry.” 

They argued that artists need to be free to create something based on existing material without worrying that they could be sued for experimenting once they actually do approach that rights-holder for a license. 

“Such free-flowing creativity is important to all recording artists, but particularly in hip hop,” her legal team said.

“With that category of music, a recording artist typically goes into the studio and experiments with dozens of different ‘beats’ or snippets of melodies, before hitting upon a pleasing combination.”

They also warned that ruling in Chapman’s favor “would impose a financial and administrative burden so early in the creative process that all but the most well-funded creators would be forced to abandon their visions at the outset.”

Judge’s Ruling

The latest update to the case came Wednesday when U.S. district judge Virginia A. Phillips ultimately sided with Minaj.

In her ruling, the judge said the rapper’s experimentation with the song constitutes “fair use” not copyright infringement.

“Artists usually experiment with works before seeking licenses from rights holders and rights holders typically ask to see a proposed work before approving a license,” she explained.

“Chapman has requested samples of proposed works before approving licensing requests herself because she wanted ‘to see how [her work] will be used’ before approving the license, yet Chapman argues against the very practice she maintains. A ruling uprooting these common practices would limit creativity and stifle innovation within the music industry.”

What’s Next? 

The decision is a major win for Minaj but the dispute between the two artists isn’t exactly over. 

That’s because Chapman is still trying to argue that Minaj infringed on her song rights by sending the song to Funkmaster Flex. Chapman’s lawyers asked the judge to find that the distribution constituted copyright infringement as a matter of law, but the judge ruled that that dispute would need to go to a jury. 

That could end up being a pretty tricking case for Minaj because according to Chapman’s legal team, she reached out to Flex on August 3, 2018, offering the song. Minaj allegedly followed up a week later on August 10 saying, “You got me tonight? The song is me and Nas. Send your number.” The next day, the song was played on the radio and promoted on social media.

Minaj’s team has pushed back against some of these points, as well as other claims, still maintaining that she did not send the song.

In her decision, judge Phillips noted factual disputes concerning when Flex received the work, who exactly gave it to him, whether it was a mastered version, and more. When the trial takes place, Minaj will likely be pressed on some of this conflicting information. 

See what others are saying: (Variety) (Complex) (MarketPlace

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