Depp says wife-beating claim made him ‘Quasimodo’

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Johnny Depp arrives at the High Court in London, Friday, July 10, 2020. (AP Photo)
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Amber Heard, left, arrives on the fourth day of the libel trial by her former husband US actor Johnny Depp against News Group Newspapers (NGN), at the High Court in London, July 10, 2020. (AFP)
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Updated 10 July 2020

Depp says wife-beating claim made him ‘Quasimodo’

  • The High Court trial revolves around a 2018 headline in The Sun asking how JK Rowling could be happy casting ‘wife-beater’ Depp in a ‘Fantastic Beasts’ film
  • Johnny Depp: ‘I went from Cinderella into Quasimodo in 0.6 seconds and I was without a voice’

LONDON: Hollywood legend Johnny Depp on Friday accused Britain’s The Sun tabloid of turning him from “Cinderella into Quasimodo” by claiming he beat his ex-wife Amber Heard.
The first week of Depp’s star-studded libel trial against the paper’s publisher and executive editor drew to a close with the 57-year-old denying hurling a champagne bottle and a phone at his former wife.
Depp claims charges compiled by Heard over a tumultuous two-year marriage that ended in 2017 were a “hoax” designed to advance her career at his expense.
The “Pirates of the Caribbean” actor said Thursday he was so often high or strung out on drugs that he was “in no condition” to hurt the 34-year-old model and film star.
The High Court trial revolves around a 2018 headline in The Sun asking how JK Rowling could be happy casting “wife-beater” Depp in a “Fantastic Beasts” film.
Depp said the headline altered his Hollywood image and endangered his career.
“I went from Cinderella into Quasimodo in 0.6 seconds and I was without a voice,” he told the court.
“That’s where I was in my life at that point.”
Cinderella is a beautiful fairy tale princess and Quasimodo the disfigured protagonist of Victor Hugo’s novel “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.”
Depp looked more confident and engaged on the fourth day of the three-week trial than he appeared at its start.
He listened alertly in an olive suit and verbally clashed with publisher News Group Newspapers’ (NGN) lawyer Sasha Wass in an attempt to refute her various charges.
Wass has gone chronologically through each of Depp’s 14 alleged assaults and other abuses.
She attempted on Friday to complete her depiction of the US superstar as self-centered and out of touch with reality due to debilitating drug abuse.
Depp countered that it was Heard who was chronically looking for a fight.
He said he went to read in bed on the night of Heard’s 30th birthday party because “I was trying to avoid another confrontation with Ms Heard about something that didn’t go exactly as she wanted or had planned.”
Depp turned up for the party two hours late because of a difficult business meeting about a financial dispute.
But Wass said Depp was fuming because Heard had pointed out one of his character faults.
“And the argument picked up pace and you picked up the bottle of champagne and you threw it at Ms Heard. And it missed and the bottle hit the wall and it smashed,” the lawyer said.
“And that, I suggest, is how you express yourself when you are angry, you smash things,” the lawyer said.
Depp denied this happened and countered: “I disagree.”
The couple’s marriage was all but over by the time Heard accused Depp of hitting her in the face with a phone in May 2016.
Wass said Depp “wound up like a baseball pitcher” and threw it at his wife at one of their mansions while one of Heard’s friends was on the other line.
Depp denied this but admitted that Heard asked the friend to call the police.
He also said the security on site witnessed how the entire episode was staged.
“She was screaming ‘stop hitting me, Johnny!, stop hitting me, Johnny!’, and the security came and she was still screaming... and I was 20 feet away getting something from the fridge,” Depp said.
“And then (one of the guards) said boss, let’s get out of here.”
Wass’ cross-examination ended with a 30-minute private session in which reporters were asked to leave the courtroom.
The actor’s attorney David Sherborne then took over by directly asking whether Depp had ever hit a woman.
“Never, no sir,” Depp replied.
Sherborne also got Depp to confirm that no other woman had alleged abuse in his past relationships.


Beirut-born singer Mika to livestream concert for blast victims

Updated 19 September 2020

Beirut-born singer Mika to livestream concert for blast victims

  • Money raised from the concert will go to Save the Children and the Lebanese Red Cross
  • Some 190 people were killed and 6,000 injured in the Aug. 4 explosion that reduced parts of the city to rubble

LONDON: Beirut-born pop star Mika will livestream a concert this weekend to raise funds for victims of the Aug. 4 port blast in the Lebanese capital, and Mexican actress Salma Hayek and Australian singer Kylie Minogue are among those joining in.

Some 190 people were killed and 6,000 injured in the huge explosion that reduced parts of the city to rubble and deepened an economic and political crisis in the country.

“There’s a lot of anger, there’s a lot of sadness,” Mika told Reuters in a Zoom interview.

“And so I think it’s important to provoke empathy, to show the human side of things, to use music ... and just kind of focus on that human side of it for a moment instead of just the politics, which is ... what happens most of the time.”

Money raised from the concert, to be streamed on Mika’s YouTube channel via a private link from 1900 GMT on Saturday, will go to Save the Children and the Lebanese Red Cross to support their work on the ground in Beirut. Tickets cost $12.95.

Mika said performers would be filmed in their local surroundings rather than all being inside, giving viewers more variety, and the concert would feature people caught up in the blast.

They include the family of George, who was born in a hospital that bore the full force of the shockwaves but who survived, earning him the nickname “miracle” baby.