Johnny Depp’s PR comeback helped by ex-Trump aide, recommended by Ivanka

People can debate the extent to which Johnny Depp’s lurid defamation trial against Amber Heard has rehabilitated the star’s battered public image, but he can thank more than his skillful lawyers for giving him at shot at working in Hollywood again.

Depp also owes some of the credit to his high-powered PR team, which includes a former Trump administration aide recommended by Ivanka Trump and the New York-based crisis communications expert, Matthew Hiltzik, who previously helped Alec Baldwin, Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte and Brad Pitt manage crises, according to reports in The Guardian and Gawker.

Gawker reported that one of Depp’s lead publicists with Hiltzik Strategies is Carolina Hurley, who was a special assistant to former President Trump. She sent out trial updates to reporters covering the lawsuit and distributed press released about Depp’s forthcoming album with English guitarist Jeff Beck.

A source familiar with Hurley’s work for Depp told Gawker that Hiltzik hired Hurley at the recommendation of Ivanka Trump. Hurley reportedly spent much of her time in the White House reporting to Trump’s daughter. Hurley’s archived tweets as a White House staffer showed that she often promoted Ivanka Trump’s projects and branding efforts, including when she shared a December 2020 Fox News article headlined: “Ivanka Trump champions working families, fights human trafficking during her father’s presidency.”

“Whether it was fighting human trafficking or pushing for policies to empower women in the workplace, [⁦@IvankaTrump⁩’s] work has positively impacted different facets of American life.”

— Carolina Hurley 45 Archived (@CLH45) December 24, 2020

When Hurley previously worked at the Republican National Committee in 2016, she was quoted in an article in The Hill vowing to fight “liberal bias.”  Hurley also was described as “an outspoken and active conservative” in a press release issued in November 2019, when she was promoted to work as a specialty media director in the Office of Communications in Trump’s White House.

For her job with Hiltzik, Hurley also received a recommendation from Hope Hicks, who worked in PR for Hiltzik before becoming one of Trump’s closest aides when he campaigned for president in 2016 and after he was elected, Gawker reported. Hiltzik told Gawker: “We’re proud to have (Hurley) on the team.”

This Trump connection in Depp’s PR campaign may be noteworthy given “the right-wing’s obvious investment in Depp’s legal victory,” Gawker said. Many conservatives and known Trump supporters, including Donald Trump Jr. and Candace Owens, joined in social media efforts to brand Amber Heard a liar and to portray the “Pirates of the Caribbean” star as a man wronged by a woman’s false claims of domestic violence.

Trump Jr. immediately weighed in after the jury delivered its verdict, saying that Heard had defamed Depp when she identified herself as a domestic violence survivor in a Washington Post op-ed. Trump Jr. tweeted: “Believe all women … except Amber Heard. $15,000,000 in compensatory and punitive damages to Depp, and perhaps a case that could end the effective rabid femminist (sic) notion that all men …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment


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