If you’ve been following the Johnny Depp-Amber Heard trial, then you know that the previous six weeks have yielded countless shocking allegations and endless hours of high-stakes drama.
But amid all of the headline-making moments there was one minor exchange that went mostly unnoticed at the time, but has since become a major source of obsession for Depp’s most diehard supporters.
And it has to do with a cartoonishly cuddly South American mammal that’s come to replace the sloth as the internet’s favorite critter du jour.
We’re talking, of course, about the alpaca.
In a deposition that took place prior to the current trial, Depp joked that even a herd (no pun intended) of alpacas couldn’t convince him to make a fifth Pirates of the Caribbean film.
Heard’s attorney Elaine Bredehoft quoted the deposition during Disney exec Tina Newman’s time on the stand.
“’If they came to me with $300 million and a million alpacas, nothing under this earth, on this earth would get me to go back and work with Disney on a Pirates of the Caribbean film,’” Bredehoft said.
“Are you aware that Mr. Depp has testified under oath that he would not take another Pirates of the Caribbean franchise role for $300 million and a million alpacas?” she asked Newman, who replied in the negative.
“Did Disney entertain paying Mr. Depp more than $300 million and provide him more than a million alpacas to be able to obtain his services for any future Pirates of the Caribbean role?” Bredehoft asked, to which Newman again said no.
In the weeks that followed, alpacas became a symbol used by Depp fans to signal their support for the troubled star.
Several of the animals were even brought by their owners to the courthouse, where they stood sentry outside the building, no doubt wondering why they were being forced to take sides in a celebrity defamation case.
Depp’s lawyers posed with the furry camelids while leaving the courthouse, and Depp quipped to reporters that it was "alpaca day."
Obviously, this is one of the more lighthearted aspects of this very ugly court battle, but the alpaca testimony points to a major problem for Depp and his legal team.
In order to win their case, Team Depp has to convince the jury not only that Heard lied in her 2018 Washington Post essay, but also that said lies damaged Depp’s career to the tune of $50 million.
They’re faced with the additional hurdle of proving that Heard was talking about Depp in the article, as she did not mention her ex-husband by name.
Depp’s claim to damages centers largely on the argument that he lost out on a $22.5 million payday when Disney pulled the plug on Pirates 5 because of Heard’s abuse claims.
But Heard’s team argues that Depp was on the outs with Disney long before Amber published the piece in which she identified herself as a survivor of domestic abuse.
“Honestly I will not again be doing anything that involves this discussion of furthering my embarrassment of having whored for all these fucking wasted piece of sh[t nothing years on characters that I so ignorantly started to think of as my legacy,” Depp wrote to this assistant in a text message that was sent before the article was published.
“Every c-nting fight!!! Every f-cking time!!! I held my ugliness and rage deeper down and get in check when there was still room in my head to do such a thing!!!!”
The jury heard closing arguments on Friday and began deliberating immediately afterward.
Tuesday marked the second day of deliberation, and a verdict is expected before the end of the week.
We’ll have further updates on this developing story as more information becomes available.