An ex-TMZ employee is detailing the time the organization received a leaked video of Johnny Depp yelling at Amber Heard, claiming the one the tabloid received was shorter than the version played in court, amid a trial of dueling defamation lawsuits.
Morgan Tremaine, a former employee for TMZ, testified that he was in charge of dispatching paparazzi to various locations based on tips.
Tremaine said a video of Depp yelling at Heard came through the organization’s email tipline. He claimed the email included a link to a DropBox website containing a video of Depp smashing cabinets. He said he did not know where the tip came from.
After receiving the video, he said they downloaded it and then were instructed to put the TMZ logo on the video and post it to their website. Tremaine said it took about 15 minutes from the time he received the video to when it was posted.
Tremaine also said the video he received was “much shorter” than the version of the same incident that was played for the court —but that TMZ employees were not the ones who edited it down.
Specifically, Tremaine claimed the beginning of the clip, with Heard “seemingly snickering and looks at the camera” — which appeared to be shown in the court version of the video — was not in the video TMZ received.
Tremaine also said he had been instructed to dispatch a team to photograph Heard at various times, including when she was leaving a courthouse with an alleged bruise and when she was leaving an airport. He stated he did not always verify the tips due to the tip coming from his own producers at the time.
Tremaine alleged Heard was expected to “stop and turn toward the camera to display the bruise on the right side of her face, the alleged bruise,” when they were photographing her leaving a courthouse.
TMZ previously tried to get Tremaine’s testimony quashed under an argument of journalistic privilege, but Judge Penney Azcarate ruled the argument was not germane to the case in a courtroom in Fairfax, Virginia, earlier Wednesday.
The tabloid publication is known for getting scoops about celebrities, including the first outlet to report on the death of beloved comedic actor Betty White this past New Year’s Eve. But they’re also known for sometimes not adhering to typical journalistic ethics.
Tremaine’s testimony centered on a video of Depp yelling at Heard and slamming cabinets, which was previously discussed in prior testimony in the trial. Depp could also be seen pouring himself a glass of wine in the video and appeared unaware he was being recorded, until the very end of the clip.
For much of the trial, Heard’s team has alleged that Depp abused drugs and alcohol, making him a non-credible source for denying the domestic violence claims since he would reportedly blackout to the point of not remembering anything he did, according to Heard. However, Depp has said Heard’s characterizations about his drug and alcohol use were “grossly embellished.”
While Heard maintains she was abused by Depp, Depp claims just the opposite: he was abused by her and not the other way around.
The court battle 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.