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Johnny Depp: 'He's gone from a pantomime villain to something much darker'

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Family favourite: Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End

Family favourite: Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End

Family favourite: Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End

Johnny Depp's brand has gone from one of edgy "pantomime villain" to "something much darker" after losing his High Court libel action, a PR expert has said.

The Hollywood star lost the case against The Sun newspaper for an article which labelled him a "wife beater".

PR guru Mark Borkowski said the case was "one of the biggest showbiz fails for a long time".

"He had to win this," Borkowski said.

"Even if he had won there would still be questions. But now he's lost he hasn't even got a Pyrrhic victory.

"He has just switched the volume on (his) lifestyle. And this makes Amber Heard a martyr and it makes him something much darker than just a pantomime villain."

Borkowski added: "His brand had a sort of edge and that edge now has turned to something that is really ugly and abusive.

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"The question is: how the hell does he re-establish himself? Because he's been involved with some of the biggest franchises going.

"In this new woke world, the culture wars, you do not want to be involved with a story (that) will not go away. This is like an indelible stain on his character."

On Depp's future in film, he said: "Nothing is impossible, write no obituaries for his career."

Borkowski added: "All those fans, those dedicated fans across the world and those who turned up at the High Court every day, do not underestimate how much they will do. They will not accept this judgment. When you've got a hard, firm base, you can start rebuilding."

Mark Stephens, a partner at Howard Kennedy and expert in reputation management, said he thought it had been "an ill-advised action ... and it's just proven to be that".

Discussing the impact this will have on his career, Mr Stephens said: "It's immensely damaging. This is something which could have been dealt with quietly out of the public spotlight."

Asked if there is a way Mr Depp might be able to recover, he said: "I think the only way he recovers is by admitting the problems that he obviously has and getting treatment, then I think Hollywood and the public will forgive him.

"But it's very difficult to see how children's authors like JK Rowling or children's entertainment companies like Disney can continue to promote somebody who is a wife-beating drug addict and that I think is going to be the problem that he has to deal with."


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