Johnny Depp‘s bad behavior was bad, but it was his desire for revenge and his lack of control that ruined him, according to a new article in The Hollywood Reporter.
On November 21st, after months—years—of terrible press and multiple job losses, including the Pirates and Fantastic Beasts franchises, Depp was set to be honored during a Polish Film Festival.
But when he was virtually due on screen during the 28th Energa Camerimage cinematography gala, the 57-year-old instead sent along a bizarre picture featuring him peeking from behind bars in a Caribbean prison. Minamata, the low-budget film he starred in that was set to screen, was the pulled by MGM.
This came, of course, on the heels of a November 2nd court decision in the U.K. in which The Sun’s description of him as a “wife beater,” following allegations of abuse by his ex Amber Heard, was deemed acceptable. He is now appealing that decision. He also has a case pending in the U.S., in which he is suing Heard for $50 million over a 2018 Washington Post op-ed describing her past as a domestic violence victim. She did not name Depp in the piece.
As THR points out, Depp has “spiraled from an A-list star responsible for more than $10 billion in worldwide box office to Hollywood persona non grata” in just four years.
Depp’s rep, at this point, is non-existent, insiders allege.
“He has suffered immense reputational carnage from a reckless set of choices that has left him in septic muck,” Eric Schiffer, a crisis PR rep whose clients include a number of high-profile Hollywood and sports figures, tells THR. “Can he come out of that? It really comes down to Johnny's choices. He still has a fan base that in many ways is like Donald Trump's with their emotional intensity and commitment to a star icon. It's not based around principles. It's about charisma and their identification of the range of characters that he's played.”
Others say his downfall could have been avoided with less aggressive legal tactics such as suing his longtime business manager Joel Mandel for $25 million, his lawyer for decades Jake Bloom for $50 million, and his decision to sever ties with his agent at UTA, whom he’d worked with for more than three decades, Tracey Jacobs.
“The abuse and drinking and drugging are one thing — certainly horrible — but then to top it off by going after the very people who were the closest business and personal relationships for years, shows a level of toxicity rarely seen,” says one industry figure who has faced off against Depp.
“Johnny Depp is a worst-case scenario for handling bad PR,” says one top crisis communications specialist. “I use him as the model for telling my clients what not to do. It's not a case of shooting himself in the foot. He shot himself in the face.”