Juror, experts explain why Amber Heard’s been unconvincing

The more Amber Heard talks and tries to explain herself, the more she’s making it hard for many people to sympathize with or believe her, if they ever did.


This message became clear Thursday through statements from one of the jurors in her blockbuster defamation trial with Johnny Depp, and from PR experts who responded negatively to clips of her interview with “Today” show’s Savannah Guthrie, during which she’s “unlikely to change a lot of minds,”

It sounds like the juror and PR experts would partially agree with Heard’s own assessment of herself to Guthrie, that she’s not a “good” or “likable victim.” They would definitely say that Heard didn’t make a “good” witness during the trial, and probably would say she wasn’t “likable,” although some might balk at characterizing her as a “victim.”

In an interview with ABC’s Good Morning America, the anonymous male juror explained how Heard’s statements and demeanor on the stand ultimately swayed them to side with Depp, whom she allegedly visually, emotionally and sexually abused her during their 15-month marriage.

The juror said the seven member panel — five men and two women — thought that Heard’s often emotional testimony “didn’t add up.” It led a majority of the jurors to believe that the “Aquaman” star was the “aggressor” in the relationship.

“The crying, the facial expressions that she had, the staring at the jury — all of us were very uncomfortable,” the juror told ABC. “She would answer one question and she would be crying and then two seconds later she would turn ice cold … Some of us used the expression ‘crocodile tears.'”

The jury concluded that Heard defamed Depp when she published a 2018 Washington Post op-ed that described herself as a domestic violence survivor. The jury awarded the “Pirates of the Caribbean” star $15 million, although they also awarded Heard $2 million in compensatory damages after finding she was defamed by Depp’s ex-attorney, Adam Waldman, who had described her abuse claims as a “hoax.”

As the juror told Good Morning America, “Ultimately, what I think is truthful was that they were both abusive to each other.”

Neither of the ex-spouses was “right or wrong,” the juror said, but “to rise to the level of what she was claiming, there wasn’t enough or any evidence that really supported what she was saying.”

Actor Johnny Depp arrives at the Fairfax County Circuit Courthouse in Fairfax, Va., Wednesday, May 25, 2022. Depp sued his ex-wife Amber Heard for libel in Fairfax County Circuit Court after she wrote an op-ed piece in The Washington Post in 2018 referring to herself as a
Actor Johnny Depp arrives at the Fairfax County Circuit Courthouse in Fairfax, Va., Wednesday, May 25, 2022. Depp sued his ex-wife Amber Heard for libel in Fairfax County Circuit Court after she wrote an op-ed piece in The Washington Post in 2018 referring to herself as a “public figure representing domestic abuse.” (Evelyn Hockstein/Pool photo via AP) Evelyn Hockstein/Pool photo via AP

During the trial, Heard detailed more than a dozen alleged assaults, including a fight in Australia in which Depp lost the tip of his middle finger and Heard said he sexually assaulted her with a liquor bottle. Depp said he never hit Heard, and alleged she was the abuser. However, Heard’s attorneys also presented years-old text messages Depp sent apologizing to Heard for his behavior as well as texts he sent to a friend in which the star said he wanted to kill his ex-wife and defile her dead body.

According to the judge, the issue that really made them question Heard’s credibility had nothing to do with the back-and-forth abuse allegations. Rather it had to do with Heard’s admission during the trial that she had not donated all of her $7 million divorce settlement to charity, despite repeated public claims to the contrary. Following the couple’s 2016 divorce, Heard let it be known that she never wanted Depp’s money, which is why she said she was giving all her money away.

“She goes on a talk show in the UK,” the juror said. “The video shows her sitting there telling the host that she gave all that money away, and the terms she used in that video clip were, ‘I gave it away,’ ‘I donated it,’ ‘It’s gone,’ but the fact is she didn’t give much of it away at all.”

Heard came across as “disingenuous” in her efforts to say that her “pledge” to give away the money was “synonymous” with “donating” it, the juror said. In her interview with Guthrie, Heard doubled-down to say that a pledge is “made over time.” She then despaired how so much of the trial “was meant to cast aspersions on who I am as a human” and to “call me a liar in any way you can.”

Experts in public relations and crisis management agree that Heard didn’t come off as credible during the trial. In a story published Thursday by Insiderthese experts also said she was not helping herself with her first post-trial interview, which NBC plans to air on “Dataline” Friday night as part of an hour-long special.

From the preview clips aired so far, it doesn’t appear that Heard will acknowledge the reasons that the jury reportedly didn’t find her credible, Juda Engelmayer, president of New York City-based HeraldPR, told Insider. While Heard acknowledged she didn’t come across as “likable” or the “perfect victim,” she insisted that she still deserved to be believed. She also criticized the role that social media played in the six-week trial, which she said subjected her to days of vicious online “hate and vitriol.”

“You cannot tell me that you think that this has been fair,” Heard told Guthrie. While Heard said she didn’t “blame” the jury for the verdict, she also suggested that they sided with Depp because “he’s a beloved character and people feel they know him.”

The juror insisted to Good Morning America that “social media did not impact us. We followed the evidence.” He also said jurors were not influenced by Depp’s star persona. “None of us were really fans of either one of them,” the juror said.

If the jurors were inclined to believe Depp over Heard, it wasn’t because he’s a bigger star or because he’s “a fantastic actor,” as Heard said. It’s because he was simply “more believable,” the juror said.

“He just seemed a little more real in terms of how he was responding to questions,” the juror said. “His emotional state was very stable throughout,”

Evan Nierman, CEO of Florida-based Red Banyan PR, told Insider that Heard may have felt compelled to do the interview because she “lost so decisively in court” and needed to “push her side of the story.”

Unfortunately, for Heard, “I don’t think anyone’s really buying it and I think it’s unlikely to change a lot of minds,” Nierman told Insider. He also said she should never have positioned herself as a representative of the #MeToo movement by writing the op-ed, “before she had the facts on her side.”

NIerman also said he doesn’t see how Heard’s career can recover.

“I think her career was going to be damaged before the trial got underway and the longer it went on and the verdict that was reached basically put a nail in the coffin of her acting career,” Nierman said.

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