Fans rage after Johnny Depp ‘abused’
MORE than 110,000 people have signed a Change.org petition calling for Amber Heard to be removed from Aquaman 2 after she admitted "hitting" ex-husband Johnny Depp in leaked audio.
"As Amber Heard is a known and proven domestic abuser, Warner Brothers and DC Entertainment should and must remove Heard from their Aquaman 2 film project," petition creator Jeanne Larson wrote.
"They must not ignore the suffering of Heard's victims and must not glamorise a domestic abuser. Men are victims of domestic abuse, just like women. This must be recognised, and action must be taken to prevent a known abuser from being celebrated within the entertainment industry."
Heard is locked in a complex legal battle with Depp, who last year launched a $US50 million defamation suit against her for implying in a Washington Post opinion piece that he had abused her during their toxic 18-month marriage.
The Pirates of the Caribbean star claims Heard repeatedly assaulted him and severed the top of his finger when she threw a vodka bottle at him. Heard responded to the lawsuit with a 300-page filing detailing the allegedly "horrific" abuse she suffered at Depp's hands.
On the weekend, The Daily Mail published a series of audiotapes, recorded by Heard on her phone in 2015 as the couple attempted to talk through their marriage problems, that many fans saw as vindication for Depp.
During the conversation, Heard admits to "hitting" Depp in a fight the previous night, mocks him as a "baby" and warns that "I can't promise you I won't get physical again", likening herself to an "animal" being poked and lashing out.
"You didn't get punched," she says. "You got hit. I'm sorry I hit you like this. But I did not punch you. I did not f**king deck you. I f**king was hitting you. I don't know what the motion of my actual hand was, but you're fine, I did not hurt you, I did not punch you, I was hitting you."
A spokeswoman for Heard accused Depp of "vindictively" leaking the tape. "Anyone familiar with the dynamics of domestic abuse would immediately recognise what is really going on here," she told The Daily Mail.
"Throughout the extended tape recording that Johnny Depp vindictively turned over to the press, Ms Heard repeatedly attempts to placate Mr Depp, ignore his accusations and force him to acknowledge what was really happening in their relationship."
She added, "For Mr Depp, who lived and lives in an echo chamber of his own making, to try to twist this private conversation to suggest either that he didn't abuse Ms Heard or that she somehow 'deserved it' is nothing more than the latest misogynistic effort at victim-blaming."
Pre-production on the sequel to 2018's Aquaman - which grossed $US1.14 billion at the box office - is slated to begin this year ahead of a December 2022 release date, although Heard has not yet been officially announced as returning in her role as Mera.
Depp, who claims in his suit against Heard that her Washington Post piece directly resulted in him being dumped from the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, reportedly tried to get Heard removed from the role the first time around.
Those claims first emerged last year as part of a separate lawsuit brought by Depp against his former lawyer Jake Bloom, with Depp said to have "personally lobbied" former Warner Bros chairman Kevin Tsujihara to blacklist Heard.