Frustrated with the heated internet debate surrounding her defamation trial against Johnny Depp, actress Amber Heard has fired her entire public relations team.
The switch-up comes just days before the star is slated to give her highly-anticipated testimony in court. Depp sued Heard for $50 million following an op-ed she wrote for The Washington Post alleging she had been the victim of domestic violence. She did not name Depp in her article.
Since the trial in Fairfax, Virginia began, Heard has been submitted to intense media scrutiny, scandalous testimonies from Johnny Depp's witnesses, and the full brunt of a furious social media mob.
One source told the New York Post "she doesn't like bad headlines", with another sharing that Heard was "frustrated with her story not being told effectively".
The actress - due to appear for testimony as early as tomorrow - ditched PR firm Precision Strategies last Thursday and replaced them with consulting firm Shane Communications on retainer.
This new firm already has experience in working against Depp. In 2017 it was partially responsible for Depp's failed lawsuit against his former business managers. Shane Communications was able to successfully allege the Pirates of the Caribbean star needed professional help for his "compulsive spending" habit of US$2 million a month.
But while successful in the past, communications experts told the Post that Heard's new PR team have quite an uphill battle ahead of them.
"After years of narrative building you can't change the public's opinion in the three weeks when someone is suing you in a case," a crisis management PR insider said.
"It's crazy to change teams in the middle of a trial like this because you don't like the headlines," said Lis Smith ex-Pete Buttigieg campaign strategist.
She also said of Heard's ex-firm Precision Strategies, that it's "one of the best crisis firms" — "but they can't rewrite the history of what's happened".
Heard, 36, is currently being sued by Depp, 58, for US$50 million, with Depp claiming that his ex-wife defamed him in her 2018 Washington Post op-ed where she spoke at length about being the victim of brutal domestic violence.
Depp was not named in Heard's essay, but the ongoing trial hinges on his claims that the article clearly referenced him and was directly responsible for millions of dollars lost due to damage to his career and reputation.
The ongoing social media firestorm has been in part due to the entire trial being filmed, with hours and hours of footage available online for anyone to view. This was a decision Heard initially fought against, but Depp's team won the fight to have the whole case live-streamed.
Now, no matter how good Heard's new PR team is, they won't be able to cherry-pick what makes it out of the courtroom.