Why Was This Johnny Depp Defense Published?

Photo: Matt Baron/REX/Shutterstock.
Update: Amber Heard's lawyer, Peter Sample, has responded to Doug Stanhope's op-ed for The Wrap to call the allegation that she is blackmailing Johnny Depp, "absolutely and unequivocally false."
This story was originally published on May 30 at 4:45 p.m. EST.
Comedian Doug Stanhope has jumped into the public fray and addressed Amber Heard's allegations of abuse against her husband, Johnny Depp. His op-ed, published on The Wrap, is an infuriating example of media irresponsibility.

In divorce court documents Heard testified that, "During the entirety of our relationship, Johnny has been verbally and physically abusive to me." Her statement sent shock waves through Hollywood. Stanhope's profanity-laced guest column for The Wrap only serves to fan the he-said-she-said flames.

In a stream-of-consciousness-style defense, the comedian claims Heard had it in for Depp, with whom Stanhope says he and his girlfriend are close friends. "We’d watched it build like this since before they were married," Stanhope writes, excoriating Heard for allegedly intending to smear Depp's reputation.
Stanhope then alleged that Heard took advantage of Depp's emotional vulnerability after his mother's death and tried to manipulate him for money.

"...Amber was now going to leave him, threatening to lie about him publicly in any and every possible duplicitous way if he didn’t agree to her terms," Stanhope writes. "Blackmail is what I would imagine other people might put it, including the manner in which he is now being vilified."

Stanhope's math doesn't add up though. In the divorce, Heard is asking for $50,000 per month, or an annual alimony of $6 million. That's a hefty expense, but only amounts to 20% of Depp's $30-million income in 2015, as reported by Forbes. In California, Heard is legally entitled to half of Depp's earnings.

There are a number of other troubling things about The Wrap's decision to publish this column. The divorce proceedings are ongoing and Stanhope's accounts of their toxic relationship are nothing more than unverified speculation, better known as gossip. Rather than reporting verifiable new information about a legal action or furthering the public conversation about victims of domestic violence, The Wrap is peddling an unverified, victim-blaming opinion for page views.

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