By: Brooke Fogel
When a trial is seen in the court of law and also the court of public opinion, mistakes are bound to be made. When a trial is also about two A-list celebrities, mistakes are definitely going to be made.
Johnny Depp sued ex-wife Amber Heard for $50 million regarding an op-ed she published in 2018 that didn’t directly state his name, but his legal team claimed it was insinuating enough to have majorly set back his career.
On the eve of giving evidence in court, Heard fired her current PR team, Precision Strategies, and switched to consulting firm Shane Communications. Heard was unhappy with how they were portraying her and the bad headlines that were following.
What did Precision Strategies do wrong?
Heard had no social media presence throughout the entire trial. It would be understandable if she wanted to keep a low profile, however, the trial was televised. Keeping quiet allowed more negativity to be thrown at her. It’s nearly impossible to face the entire internet when it is against you, but posting a statement is an excellent place to start.
Something else Precision Strategies couldn’t do was rewrite the narrative, however, they could have defended Amber and helped her image by shining some light on her unfulfilled promise to CHLA, an organization which she claimed to have donated $3.5 million of her divorce settlement with Depp, but rather only gave them $250,000. The PR move didn’t have to be paying the difference, but rather simply admitting her wrongdoing.
Defamation cases can be difficult to win, but not protecting your image will make it even harder. While there wasn’t much Heard’s team could have done to rewrite the narrative, they could have reframed it. PR is all about spin, and this one spun out of control.