KEY POINTS

  • "Pirates of the Caribbean" star Naomie Harris spoke out against the media obsession with the Johnny Depp vs. Amber Heard case
  • She found it "bizarre and problematic" that the world was given access to the trial
  • Depp won his defamation lawsuit against Heard and was awarded $10.35 million in damages. 

“Pirates of the Caribbean” actress Naomie Harris criticized the “distributing” amount of media coverage the Johnny Depp vs. Amber Heard defamation trial received and said it was a distraction from more serious issues.

Harris, who starred alongside Depp in the “Pirates” sequels “Dead Man’s Chest” and “At World’s End” as voodoo priestess Tia Dalma, spoke out against the viral coverage of the bombshell trial, which ended in June, during a recent interview with The Independent.

When asked if she followed her former co-star's trial, the British actress, 45, said that it was impossible to avoid because the media “rammed [the case] down our throats every day,” something she did not appreciate.

“It was all over social media, all over the news, everywhere,” Harris told the publication. “I think there’s something quite disturbing about that, actually, because there are some serious events happening in the world that deserve much greater airtime than they’re having because this kind of thing is being aired.”

Harris added that the case should have been handled privately between Depp and Heard and that she found it “bizarre and problematic” that the world was given access to the trial.

She went on to say that “more relevant and important” cases such as Ghislaine Maxwell’s sex trafficking trial should have been televised instead.

Maxwell was found guilty of recruiting and trafficking young girls to be sexually abused by late financier Jeffrey Epstein, also a convicted sex offender. The 60-year-old former socialite, who has maintained her innocence, was sentenced in June to 20 years in prison.

Harris said she hopes that the media would focus on appealing to “people’s higher nature” instead of their “base instincts.”

Judge Penney Azcarate, who presided over the case, had allowed Court TV to broadcast Depp and Heard's six-week trial live, with two pool cameras operating in the courtroom in Fairfax, Virginia.

Live viewership on its channel peaked at 1.25 million, but it also received criticism and raised concerns for domestic violence and sexual violence victims who would not want their names broadcast on a livestream, Variety reported.

However, Azcarate explained that the decision was made because she received a lot of media requests and had “a responsibility to keep the proceedings open to observers,” according to the outlet. She was also worried that reporters would flock to the courthouse and create a potentially hazardous condition.

On June 1, Depp won against Heard after a jury found that the actress defamed her ex-husband and acted out of “actual malice” when she wrote about surviving domestic abuse in a Washington Post op-ed in 2018.

Depp was awarded total damages of $10.35 million, including compensatory and punitive damages. Heard received $2 million in compensatory damages after partially winning her countersuit against the actor.

Heard's lawyers have since asked the judge to toss her losing verdict in the lawsuit, claiming that the judgment was not supported by sufficient evidence.

Naomie Harris
Naomie Harris, pictured on Dec. 11, 2016 in Santa Monica, California, couldn’t hide her excitement after being nominated for an Oscar. Getty Images/Frazer Harrison
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