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Petition to remove Amber Heard from Aquaman sequel reaches 2 million signatures – Would you join?

A petition to remove Amber Heard from Aquaman 2 has reached two million signatures, as the defamation trial brought by the actor’s ex-husband, Johnny Depp, continues.

The DC sequel – in which Heard stars as Aquaman’s love interest Mera – concluded shooting earlier this year, with director James Wan confirming the film had wrapped in January. Aquaman 2 is scheduled for release in March 2023.

Amber Heard CREDIT: Lawrence Busacca/Getty Images for L’Oréal

The petition – which states a goal of reaching three million signatures – has been set up by fans who claim that Heard “has systematically crusaded to ruin Depp in Hollywood” since the couple divorced in 2017.

The 36-year-old Heard never named the 58-year-old Depp but he sued her for implying that he was a domestic abuser and is seeking $50 million in damages.

The Texas-born Heard countersued, asking for $100 million and claiming she suffered “rampant physical violence and abuse” at his hands.

Depp, testifying earlier on his own behalf, blamed the accusations by Heard for the loss of his lucrative role in “Pirates” as Captain Jack Sparrow.
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The Independent has contacted Heard’s representative and Wan for comment.

Heard is being sued by Depp for $50m (£38.2m). He alleges that Heard implied that he abused her in a 2018 Washington Post op-ed about domestic violence.

“You have to do what’s right for the film, and that’s really where we landed on it.”

Referencing the petition in November 2020, Heard, whose set to reprise her role as Mera in the forthcoming DC sequel, said in an interview, “Paid rumours and paid campaigns on social media don’t dictate [casting decisions] because they have no basis in reality.

“Only the fans actually made Aquaman and Aquaman 2 happen.”

Presently, with reestablished interest in the Johnny Depp and Amber Heard preliminary in the US, the request has gotten momentum.

Depp is at present suing his ex for maligning north of a 2018 opinion piece in The Washington Post, where she expounded on being an overcomer of abusive behavior at home.

Heard didn’t make reference to Depp by name in the piece, however Depp’s attorneys contend it erroneously suggests she was physically and actually manhandled by him in their marriage. She has likewise documented a counterclaim against her previous spouse, contending he has made a slanderous attack against her.

Depp lost a criticism claim against The Sun in 2020, zeroing in on an article in the paper from April 2018 that alluded to him as a “tank top”, with Judge Mr Justice Nicol saying in a decision that he viewed the words as “significantly evident”.

The trial is well underway in Fairfax County, Virginia. On Wednesday 27 April, further testimony was given by two police officers who responded to a domestic violence call at an LA penthouse where Heard was staying in May 2016.

The officers said they found no evidence of a crime, and that Heard “refused to give any statement”.

Actor Amber Heard listens in the courtroom at the Fairfax County Circuit Court in Fairfax, Va., Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Actor Amber Heard listens in the courtroom at the Fairfax County Circuit Court in Fairfax, Va., Wednesday, April 27, 2022

(AP)
The online petition to remove Heard from the Aquaman sequel gained traction in November 2020, reaching 1.5 million signatures following Depp’s exit from the Fantastic Beasts franchise.

Depp resigned from the franchise – which was recently released with Mads Mikkelson taking over the role – at the request of Warner Bros after Depp lost a libel case against The Sun over a 2018 article that called him a “wife beater”.

Heard previously condemned the campaign to have her removed from the film. She denied that the outcome of the Depp libel case had any impact on her own franchise, confirming that she was due to film the sequel.

“Paid rumours and paid campaigns on social media don’t dictate [casting decisions] because they have no basis in reality,” Heard said in a statement. “Only the fans actually made Aquaman and Aquaman 2 happen. I’m excited to get started next year.”

“In his $50 million lawsuit, Johnny Depp describes many incidents of domestic abuse that he suffered at the hands of his (then) wife Amber Heard, including one incident where she punched him twice in the face and another where she shattered his finger with a vodka bottle, and his finger had to be surgically reattached,” the petition reads. It also cites Heard’s 2009 arrest for domestic abuse against Tasya Van Ree, “demonstrating a repeated pattern of abuse by Amber Heard.”

The aforementioned $50 million defamation lawsuit is currently in full swing in Virginia nearly two years after Depp lost a libel case against The Sun over a headline that referred to him as a “wife beater.” Days later, Warner Bros. asked him to resign from Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore.

Though Heard portrayed Arthur Curry’s love interest Mera in 2018’s Aquaman, it was recently revealed that she was nearly dropped from the sequel due to chemistry concerns with lead actor Jason Momoa.

Of course, the petition to remove Heard from Aquaman 2 hasn’t gone unnoticed by those at Warner Bros. That said, producer Peter Safran made it clear that the studio wouldn’t be swayed. “I don’t think we’re ever going to react to, honestly, pure fan pressure,” he said in July 2021. “You gotta do what’s best for the movie. We felt that if it’s James Wan, and Jason Momoa, it should be Amber Heard. That’s really what it was. One is not unaware of what is going on in the Twitter-verse, but that doesn’t mean you have to react to it or take it as gospel or accede to their wishes. You have to do what’s right for the film, and that’s really where we landed on it.”​​​​​​​

Amber Heard Timed Her 2018 Op-Ed Against Johnny Depp to Capitalize on Aquaman Press

The general counsel of the American Civil Liberties Union has testified that Amber Heard’s op-ed in The Washington Post was released in December 2018 to capitalize on the premiere of Warner Bros. and DC Films’ Aquaman.

During the ongoing $50 million defamation trial between Johnny Depp and Heard, Depp’s attorneys played a video deposition of Terence Dougherty, the ACLU’s general counsel. Dougherty was asked to comment on a Dec. 11, 2018 email from Jessica Weitz, the ACLU’s director of artist engagement, which stated that the “goal is to get [Heard’s op-ed] out this week to capitalize on the tremendous campaign for Aquaman” set to release 10 days later. “From the ACLU’s perspective, Amber is about to receive an incredible amount of press and be in the public eye,” Dougherty said, according to Variety. “So what better a time would it be than now to put out this op-ed so that it generates significant readership about our issues.”

The ACLU had a hand in the infamous op-ed that used Heard’s experiences to address the Violence Against Women Act and sexual assault on college campuses. Notably, the op-ed alluded to her relationship with Depp but did not mention the actor by name. Heard was instead referred to as “a public figure representing domestic abuse.” In the $50 million defamation trial, which began in April and is expected to last five weeks, Depp claimed the op-ed destroyed his film career and led to him being let go from the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. Heard has denied the accusations.

Aquaman was the second DC Extended Universe film to star Heard as Mera, the warrior princess and love interest of Jason Momoa’s Aquaman, after a cameo in 2017’s Justice League. She reprised the role in 2021’s Zack Snyder’s Justice League and will appear in Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, which is currently set for a theatrical release in 2023. Heard’s ongoing involvement in the Aquaman franchise has been brought up several times during the trial’s proceedings, while a fan petition asking for Heard to be removed from the franchise recently surpassed 2.1 million signatures.

Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom is currently in post-production. Besides Momoa and Heard, the film will bring back most of the 2018 film’s supporting cast, including Willem Dafoe, Patrick Wilson, Dolph Lundgren, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Temuera Morrison, and Nicole Kidman. Jani Zhao, Indya Moore, and Pilou Asbæk have joined the sequel in undisclosed roles.

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