Johnny Depp’s Popularity Drops After Defamation Trial

Johnny Depp's favorability rating fell furthest among men and baby boomers, while Gen Zers were largely unmoved
June 08, 2022 at 3:38 pm UTC

Actor Johnny Depp may have won a significant legal victory last week when a Virginia jury awarded him more than $10 million in damages for defamation by his ex-wife, actress Amber Heard, but Morning Consult trend data shows it cost him in the court of public opinion, particularly among men and baby boomers.

Bar chart showing fall of Johnny Depp's popularity following defamation trial

Johnny Depp’s popularity dips following defamation trial

  • The share of U.S. adults with a “very” or “somewhat” favorable view of Depp declined 12 percentage points from 68% in an April survey to 56% in a June survey conducted after the six-week trial concluded.
  • In April, Depp’s favorability rating among baby boomers was 59%. In June, that figure dropped to 37%. 
  • Younger respondents found Depp much more likable than their older peers after the trial: 70% of Gen Z adults held a favorable view after the trial, down just 2 percentage points since April, while his favorability rating among millennials dropped 6 points, to 72%. 
  • Depp’s favorability rating among men dropped from 67% to 52%, compared to a 9-point drop-off among women in the same time frame.
  • The “Pirates of the Caribbean” star’s popularity fell from 70% to 55% among Democrats and from 68% to 55% among independents. He saw a smaller decrease among Republicans, from 65% to 57%.   

Dior stands by Depp

The conclusion of the trial, which also saw Heard awarded $2 million after the jury ruled that one of Depp’s former lawyers had defamed the actress in the press, had high resonance with the general public, with at least two-thirds of all U.S. adults saying they’d heard at least something about the jury’s decisions.

The declines in Depp’s popularity may be of interest to brands that are considering working with him or currently have a deal with the 58-year-old actor, such as Christian Dior. Despite the controversy, Depp remains the face of the luxury brand’s Sauvage men’s fragrance, a deal which began in 2015. In fact, demand for the cologne actually soared during the proceedings as fans rallied to support the actor, while TikTok videos tagged with #diorsauvage have been viewed almost 350 million times. Sauvage even became the second most popular fragrance in the world in terms of Google search data and social media figures.  

LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE, parent company of Dior, declined to comment for this story. 

The trial’s impact on Depp’s career prospects remains to be seen, though industry insiders told The Hollywood Reporter that his chances of bouncing back were likely better than Heard’s because of industry sexism. 

Eli Yokley contributed.

The Morning Consult surveys were conducted April 8-10, and June 4-5, 2022, among a representative sample of 2,210 and 2,211 U.S. adults, respectively, with unweighted margins of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points. 

Eliza Carter previously worked at Morning Consult as a reporter covering brands and marketing.

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