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Johnny Depp fans unleash hundreds of negative reviews on psychiatrist after he testified for Amber Heard

Dr David Spiegel gave damning testimony about Depp’s mental state

Gustaf Kilander
Washington, DC
Tuesday 24 May 2022 21:21 BST
Related video: Psychiatrist claims Depp’s behaviour is consistent with ‘intimate partner violence’

Johnny Depp fans have inundated a psychiatrist with negative reviews after he testified on behalf of Amber Heard at the couple’s defamation trial.

Dr David Spiegel took the witness stand on Monday and gave damning testimony about Mr Depp’s mental state, saying he has “behaviours that are consistent with someone that both has substance-use disorder as well as behaviours of someone who is a perpetrator of intimate-partner violence”.

Soon after, a torrent of negative reviews cropped up on Dr Spiegel’s page on the medical website WebMD. Many of the one-star reviews referred directly to the trial, with one saying that “Dr Spiegel needs looking into after today’s performance! He looks and sounds like he is the one who needs psychiatric help”.

Another reviewer said the psychiatrist “called my boyfriend Johnny a stupid pirate”.

His Google page also faced a deluge of scathing reviews in connection to the trial, with reviewers saying that he’s a “terrible doctor”, that he was “very arrogant and looked like he was having some kind of problem” and that he “should be avoided at all times because he has been unprofessional”. Another said his “vibe” was “scary”.

The vast majority of the reviews on his Google page were later removed.

Dr David Spiegel’s Google page was hit with hundreds of negative reviews (Google)
Dr David Spiegel’s Google page was hit with hundreds of negative reviews (Google)
Dr David Spiegel’s Google page was hit with hundreds of negative reviews (Google)
Dr David Spiegel’s Google page was hit with hundreds of negative reviews (Google)

On WebMD, a small number of reviewers defended Mr Spiegel.

“All these one-star reviews are not related to patient care,” one person said. “They are opinions of viewers watching the Johnny Depp trial. Maybe find another place to vent your frustrations.”

In an email, Dr Spiegel told The Independent that he finds it “unfortunate that this is occurring”.

“I have always believed that an individual’s hero should best be someone a person knows and not someone they think they know, thus preventing this level of disappointment”, he added. “That said, I do find it very disheartening” that people are “leaving negative reviews on my professional website.”

In his testimony on Monday, Dr Spiegel acknowledged that he did not interview Mr Depp directly, because his two requests to do so were denied by the actor’s lawyers.

Instead, he drew conclusions after reviewing Mr Depp’s depositions and other materials in the case, saying he saw many signs of impairment from excessive use of drugs and alcohol.

Asked if he believes Mr Depp’s substance abuse impaired his ability to perform as an actor, Dr Spiegel said he is aware of Mr Depp using an earpiece for lines and saying that he did a movie “entirely wasted”.

He said he believes Mr Depp’s “thinking rate” is down and his attention and memory are impaired, noting that drugs and alcohol “will make us disinhibited and will make us act out, in a lot of different ways”, including “intimate partner violence”.

“We all get angry with people ... But when our brain is functioning well, we don’t act it out,” he said.

“When we have the effects of alcohol, we have disinhibition ... so we can no longer interpret what’s in front of you, what’s right and wrong, what we should act on and what we shouldn’t act on.”

Mr Spiegel described combining substance abuse with intimate partner violence as “playing with fire”.

In a tense cross-examination, Dr Spiegel and Mr Depp’s lawyer sparred over the American Psychiatric Association’s Goldwater Rule, which says that psychiatrists should not give professional opinions about public figures that they have not examined in person.

Dr. David Spiegel testifies in the courtroom at the Fairfax County Circuit Courthouse in Fairfax, Virginia, USA, 23 May 2022 (EPA)

The defamation trial between Mr Depp and Ms Heard is now in its sixth and final week at the courthouse in Fairfax, Virginia. Mr Depp’s suit claims Ms Heard defamed him in a December 2018 op-ed published in The Washington Post titled “I spoke up against sexual violence — and faced our culture’s wrath. That has to change”.

In her op-ed, Ms Heard wrote that “like many women, I had been harassed and sexually assaulted by the time I was of college age. But I kept quiet — I did not expect filing complaints to bring justice. And I didn’t see myself as a victim”.

“Then two years ago, I became a public figure representing domestic abuse, and I felt the full force of our culture’s wrath for women who speak out,” she added at the time.

While Mr Depp isn’t named in the piece, his legal team argues that it contains a “clear implication that Mr Depp is a domestic abuser”, which they say is “categorically and demonstrably false”. Mr Depp is seeking damages of “not less than $50m”.

Ms Heard has filed a $100m counterclaim against Mr Depp for nuisance and immunity from his allegations.

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