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Witnesses testify to Depp’s ‘drug problems’ in defamation suit

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Day 19: Amber Heard’s witnesses testify at trial about Johnny Depp’s drug and alcohol use

Heard’s ex-best friend, former agent, and former business manager, as well as her former attorney, provide an account of Depp’s ‘erratic behaviour’ in court on Thursday.

Ellen Barkin who had a sexual relationship with the actor in 1994 also testified that he was a jealous man who was “controlling” as well as “angry and demanding”.

A former long-time close friend testifies

Bruce Witkin was the first witness to be called on Thursday for Heard’s defence.

Witkin was Depp’s former long-time friend from 1982 and ‘best friend’ by 2018.

When recalling what ended their friendship Witkin says he wasn’t sure, except that he received a text from Depp saying Witkin had “stabbed him in the back.”

Witkin also says that during their friendship he observed Depp abusing substances and recommended Depp get sober, which he did on a few occasions.

However, Witkin alleged that during his sobriety from opiates the star continued using other substances.

Witkin testified saying, “it just seemed weird to me there was weed and wine in soberness.”

He also spoke of his surprise when he saw his friend begin using cocaine for the first time in 2014, and then again in 2016.

“In my experience, it’s deep-rooted issues he’s dealing with,” says Witkin.

“It had nothing to do with Amber, in my opinion.”

Former agent

Depp’s former agent Tracey Jacobs who helped him to become ‘the biggest star in the world’ appeared via a video link in the star’s multi-million dollar defamation suit against his ex-wife.

Testifying about the difficulties of representing the actor for roughly 30 years and her experience of his problematic behaviour during the last decade of their professional relationship.

Jacobs told the court that Depp displayed “unprofessional” conduct on sets which included being unprepared and escalating anger issues due to increased alcohol and drug use.

“Showing up late to set consistently on virtually every movie,” says Jacobs.

“I would get yelled at. I never said to him, ‘you’re a difficult client,’ but I was very honest with him and said, ‘you’ve got to stop doing this, this is hurting you.’ And it did.”

Jacobs testifying about Depp’s fall from grace says the actor’s “star had dimmed” due to his bad reputation.

On the topic of Depp ending their professional collaboration in 2016 Jacobs says, “all I know is he essentially terminated everyone in his life, and I was along for the ride, I guess”.

Former business manager

Depp’s former business manager Joel Mandel who met the actor around 1999 and worked with him until 2016, testified that he saw the actor’s behaviour become ‘erratic’.

In addition to displaying “disproportionate” reactions to things, Mandel also attested to Depp’s income and spending during the time they worked together.

He describes the star’s lifestyle as having changed when he rose to fame, saying the increase in income was followed by increased spending to maintain the new lifestyle.

Mandel says that there came a point where Depp’s income could no longer support his lifestyle, requesting that the business manager make severe cutbacks.

As a result, Mandel says he was unable to pay the actor’s taxes in October 2015.

“His financial circumstances in 2015 had reached a point where I was extremely concerned and was on a very regular basis expressing that concern,” says Mandel.

However, he says that his concerns about the dire circumstances were not met favourably by the star as he fired him.

Defamation lawsuit continues in court

In 2018, Depp sued Heard for $50 million over an op-ed she wrote for The Washington Post, in which she described surviving domestic violence — without mentioning her ex-husband by name.

Heard filed a counter-suit against the actor for $100 million in 2020, which is ongoing and nearing its end with testimony expected to end next week and closing arguments set for Friday, May 27.

Danaya Malenda contributed to this report.

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Taylor Swift secretly gets engaged to Joe Alwyn

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Taylor Swift is set to marry her British boyfriend Joe Alwyn, after a secret engagement

Singer Taylor Swift will tie the knot after her boyfriend of five years, Joe Alwyn, after a secret engagement months ago.

Reports suggest the couple have told their inner circle, and 32-year-old Swift only wears her ring behind closed doors.

The pair have been pictured only a handful of times on the red carpet but sources say they are both incredibly happy.

There are no specific details around the wedding, or if the couple will confirm the engagement speculation.

They’ve been together for around five years after meeting at the 2016 Met Gala.

Swift and Alwyn have collaborated on two songs in her Folklore album and three on Evermore.

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Business

Amazon slaps on new restrictions, Queer community furious

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Online retail giant Amazon has slapped on new restrictions that has left the LGBTQ+ community furious

Amazon has restricted search results related to Queer people and issues on its website in the United Arab Emirates

Same-sex relations are illegal in the UAE and Amazon took action after coming under pressure from authorities.

According to the New York times, The company made the decision to restrict the searches after being threatened with penalties by the UAE government.

Expressing support for LGBTQ+ rights could also be deemed an offence in the Gulf state, sparking global outrage as Pride month, which is dedicated to celebrating Queer people around the world, comes to a close.

Amazon says as a company, it remains committed to diversity and inclusion.

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Google and Apple urged to ditch TikTok amid data security concerns

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Google and Apple are being urged to take down TikTok as concerns continue to grow around data being sent to China

A U.S. Federal Communications Commission member, Brendan Carr, says that TikTok poses an unacceptable national security risk due to data harvesting and Beijing’s apparent unchecked access to sensitive information.

The request will unlikely be accepted, as the Federal Communications Commissioner is not responsible for regulating app stores.

It comes as a Buzzfeed report found that employees of TikTok’s parent company, Bytedance, had been accessing U.S. users’ private information.

Carr says he will give Apple and Google until the 8th of July to respond to his request and to explain why they won’t remove the app from their app stores.

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