MeToo activist tells libel trial Sun misquoted her in Johnny Depp abuse story

MeToo activist and actor Katherine Kendall says in statement released to court Friday that she was "misused" by the British tabloid in an article that accused Johnny Depp of physically abusing his ex-wife, Amber Heard.

Actor Katherine Kendall says she did not say Depp hurt his ex-wife Amber Heard

Actor Johnny Depp arrives at the High Court in London, Friday, July 17, 2020. Depp is suing News Group Newspapers, publisher of The Sun, over an April 2018 article that called him a "wife-beater." The Sun's defence relies on 14 allegations by his ex-wife Amber Heard. (Kirsty Wigglesworth/The Associated Press)

A MeToo activist said in a court document released Friday that she was "misquoted and misused" by a British tabloid newspaper in an article that accused Johnny Depp of physically abusing his ex-wife, Amber Heard.

The article quoted Katherine Kendall, an actor and activist who says she was assaulted by jailed film mogul Harvey Weinstein, as saying "it seems that Amber got hurt" and condemning violence.

The article also claimed there was a backlash by MeToo activists against author J.K. Rowling because she was defending her "famous pal" Depp, a star of the movie adaptation of her book Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them.

Depp is suing News Group Newspapers, publisher of The Sun, and the paper's executive editor, Dan Wootton, at the High Court in London over the April 2018 article, which called him a "wife-beater." He strongly denies abusing Heard.

She was the last witness called as part of Depp's case, which has spanned nine days.

Depp and Heard met while making The Rum Diary in 2011 and the two were married in February 2015. Heard filed for divorce 15 months later. 

Actor and MeToo activist Katherine Kendall said in a statement at a London libel trial against The Sun tabloid that she had no first-hand knowledge of Johnny Depp abusing ex-wife Amber Heard. (Robert Bumsted/Associated Press)

In a written witness statement, Kendall said she spoke in April 2018 to a woman she later learned was a Sun reporter. She said she had been "completely misquoted and misused by The Sun to accomplish their goal."

"Although it was true that I was a victim of Harvey Weinstein, the rest was a lie," Kendall said. "I was not 'going public' on behalf of MeToo or myself, to criticize J.K. Rowling's decision to cast Mr. Depp, nor did I accuse Mr. Depp of hurting Amber Heard, about which I have no first-hand knowledge."

Kendall said in her statement that she texted the Sun reporter after the article was printed and told her: "It seems that the whole article was about defaming him."

Kendall, who appeared by videolink from Los Angeles, was not questioned about her statement.

Before Kendall's appearance, a friend of Amber Heard said one of Depp's lawyers had pressured her to say unfavourable things about Heard in a U.S. court declaration.

In her written statement, interior designer Laura Divenere stated she had not seen any injury to Heard in the days after Heard alleges Depp threw a phone which struck her face.

Asked by Sasha Wass, lawyer for the Sun's publisher News Group Newspapers, if she had come under "enormous pressure" to make the declaration, Divenere said: "Correct."

Depp's friend says star claims Heard 'likes to hit'

Earlier on Friday, the court heard from Depp's long-time friend, artist Isaac Baruch, who said a "distraught" Depp had come to see him in 2013, and told him Heard "likes to hit," and that she would punch him after starting fights.

In his witness statement, Baruch said Depp had told him: "I don't know what I'm gonna do, because I'm not gonna hit her, you know me I'm not gonna hit her, I love her."

Amber Heard, actor and former wife of Johnny Depp, arrives at the High Court in London on Friday. Depp's long-time friend, artist Isaac Baruch, testified a "distraught" Depp had come to see him in 2013, and told him Heard "likes to hit." Heard is expected to testify when the trial continues on Monday. (Frank Augstein/The Associated Press)

Baruch, who lived in one of the Los Angeles penthouses owned by Depp, also said Heard had no visible injuries in the days after she alleges that Depp threw a mobile phone during a heated argument in May 2016.

In other testimony on Friday, Travis McGivern, one of Depp's security guards, said he saw Heard throw a full can of Red Bull drink at Depp, spit down at him from a landing and punch him in the eye during another argument in March 2015.

Heard is due to start giving evidence on Monday when the paper begins its defence.

With files from Reuters