Johnny Depp trial: Amber Heard fires PR team over ‘bad headlines’ days before taking stand

Amber Heard has fired her public relations team over the onslaught of negative publicity amid the ongoing $50m defamation lawsuit brought by ex-husband Johnny Depp.

On Sunday (1 May), it was reported that Heard, who is being sued by Depp over a 2018 op-ed implying he abused her, had terminated her working relationship with crisis PR firm Precision Strategies last week after growing frustrated with the bad press she has been getting since the trial began last month.

The Independent has confirmed that Shane Communications has been enlisted by the actor to manage the verdict in the court of public opinion just days before she is expected to take the stand on Tuesday (3 May).

“She doesn’t like bad headlines,” one source reportedly told the New York Post, who broke the news first, while another added that the Aquaman The actor is “frustrated with her story not being told effectively”.

Precision Strategies was co-founded by Stephanie Cutter, who served as a deputy campaign manager during the former US president Barack Obama’s successful re-election bid.

Communication experts told the Post that Precision Strategies is among “the best crisis firms in the world” but that no PR company can “rewrite the history of what has happened”.

The Independent has contacted representatives for Heard and Precision Strategies for comment.

Heard’s decision to drop Precision Strategies comes after days of explosive testimony at the Fairfax County Circuit Court in which Depp and his witnesses have claimed the Pirates of the Carribbean actor was the victim of domestic violence during his marriage to Heard.

During the second week of the five-week trial, Depp described in graphic detail a fight with Heard during which he claims she threw a vodka bottle at him, severing his finger.

“She then grabbed that bottle and threw that at me,” Depp said, demonstrating to the jury how he was sitting at the time. He said his fingers were resting on the edge of the bar and that the large vodka bottle “made contact and shattered everywhere”.

Heard’s new public relations team, led by company CEO David Shane, has worked on a high-profile case involving Depp in the past.

In 2017, Shane Communications was involved in highlighting allegations about Depp’s compulsive spending habits made by his former business manangement firm The Management Group, after the two became engaged in a legal dispute over alleged breach of contract. The lawsuits brought by both sides were eventually dropped before the matter could reach the trial.

Follow live updates of the high-profile Depp v Heard trial here.

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