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Psychiatrist witness baffled by question about Willy Wonka posed by Johnny Depp’s lawyer

Dr. David Spiegel said he believed Johnny Depp had substance use disorder and was a perpetrator of intimate partner violence.

Image via Warner Bros.

A psychiatrist witness seemed utterly taken aback when asked a question by Johnny Depp’s lawyer about the fictional Roald Dahl character Willy Wonka amid a trial of dueling defamation lawsuits involving the Pirates of the Caribbean actor and his ex-wife, Aquaman star Amber Heard.

The psychiatrist, Dr. David Spiegel, had testified he believed Depp suffered from substance use disorder and had behaviors consistent with someone who was a perpetrator of intimate partner violence. In an apparent line of questioning about Spiegel’s assessment regarding Depp’s “processing speed,” Depp’s lawyer asked him, “Willy Wonka doesn’t matter to you?”

The lawyer continued, asking if Spiegel watched 2005’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, in which Depp starred as the chocolate factory’s eccentric owner, Willy Wonka, when he was gathering data for making his assessment of Depp’s processing speed. 

Spiegel seemed completely baffled at the question. Rather than answering it, he turned to the judge, asking, “Do I have to answer that question, your honor?”

Judge Penney Azcarate then confirmed, “you have to answer questions, yes, sir.”

“No, you’ll be happy to know I didn’t see Willy Wonka. I didn’t see 21 Jump Street when it happened. No, I did not.”

The discussion centered around Spiegel’s assessment regarding Depp’s alleged use of an earpiece during acting jobs.

Spiegel later admitted he wasn’t sure if actors using earpieces was an accepted standard or not.

As if that weren’t enough, that wasn’t the only candy-related line of questioning Spiegel was presented. Heard’s lawyer also asked the psychiatrist about Depp’s propensity to eat candy during the trial. Depp has frequently been seen doodling and munching on gummy bears throughout the trial. The question by Heard’s lawyer, apparently attempting to tie that behavior to narcissistic traits, was objected to by Depp’s lawyer, which was sustained by the judge.

Depp’s lawyer also questioned Spiegel about whether he called Depp an “idiot.” But Spiegel said the remark from a previous deposition was taken out of context, and it was part of a rhetorical situation he was discussing.

Earlier in his testimony, Spiegel talked about what seemed to be a discussion about gaslighting.

He also discussed “victim-blaming” in his testimony.

Under cross-examination, Depp’s lawyer and Spiegel also apparently bickered over philosophies about ethics.

Overall, it was Spiegel’s assessment that Depp had behaviors consistent with someone who has substance use disorder and with someone who is a perpetrator of intimate partner violence.

The court battle, unfolding in a courtroom in Fairfax, Virginia, centers on an op-ed Heard wrote for the Washington Post in 2018, in which she describes herself as a “public figure representing domestic abuse.” Though Depp isn’t named in the article, Heard made prior allegations of abuse against Depp in 2016, which he claims are false and are referenced in the piece.

Depp is suing Heard for $50 million for defamation for allegedly false domestic abuse accusations she made against him that he said hurt his career. Heard is counter-suing Depp, also for defamation, for $100 million.

While Heard maintains she was abused by Depp, Depp claims just the opposite: he was abused by her and not the other way around.

Depp is also slated to take the stand this week, as called upon as a witness by Heard’s team after he previously testified on behalf of himself and was cross-examined by Heard’s team last month.

Danny Peterson
About the author

Danny Peterson

Danny Peterson covers entertainment news for WGTC and has previously enjoyed writing about housing, homelessness, the coronavirus pandemic, historic 2020 Oregon wildfires, and racial justice protests. Originally from Juneau, Alaska, Danny received his Bachelor's degree in English Literature from the University of Alaska Southeast and a Master's in Multimedia Journalism from the University of Oregon. He has written for The Portland Observer, worked as a digital enterprise reporter at KOIN 6 News, and is the co-producer of the award-winning documentary 'Escape from Eagle Creek.'