Kaplan is a co-founder of the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund, and has represented two other women who were sued after leveling high-profile allegations of sexual abuse. Kaplan is not being compensated through the fund to defend Heard, according to a source familiar with the arrangement.
Depp denied the claims, which first arose in the course of their 2016 divorce. In the defamation suit, he alleged that the fresh publicity around the issue caused him financial harm, including by prompting Disney to drop him from the “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise.
In the motion to dismiss, Kaplan argues that Depp’s name was never even mentioned in the op/ed.
“Fundamentally — and contrary to the premise of Mr. Depp’s case — it was not about him and what he did to Ms. Heard during their marriage,” she writes. “It was about her and what happened to her after she came forward.”
Kaplan also argues that Depp’s suit, if successful, would prevent Heard from expressing solidarity with the #MeToo movement.
“In Mr. Depp’s view… Ms. Heard can never speak about the backlash she endured after reporting him, or about the death threats against her, without impliedly re-accusing him of abuse,” she writes. “It cannot be true that every time Ms. Heard speaks about her experiences and beliefs regarding the #MeToo movement, or society’s response to it, her statements will be interpreted as implying that Mr. Depp abused her. While Mr. Depp may believe that everything Ms. Heard says is actually about him, readers blessed with a grasp of English usage and context can readily discern otherwise, especially in a political opinion piece like this one.”
Kaplan has also defended Melanie Kohler, who was sued for defamation after accusing producer Brett Ratner of rape, and Moira Donegan, the creator of the “shitty media men” list.
“Now that we are in this case, we fully intend to put an end to this meritless bullying of our client once and for all,” she said.