New York’s public university system removes Johnny Depp’s attorney profile after backlash


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The City University of New York has deleted the profile of a graduate who was the youngest lawyer to work on Johnny Depp’s legal team in his defamation case against ex-wife Amber Heard after receiving backlash from from students and teachers.

Yarelyn Mena, 29, a partner at Brown Rudnick LLP, helped the firm win a $10.35 million verdict.

The daughter of two immigrants from the Dominican Republic graduated from Hunter College at CUNY in 2015 and went on to earn a law degree from Fordham University.

CUNY is the city’s public university system and includes more than two dozen colleges.

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A combination of photos of Johnny Depp and Amber Heard in Fairfax, Va., during the actor’s libel case against his ex-wife.
(Evelyn Hockstein/Pool via AP)

Mena was featured in an Aug. 3 profile published in the student-run newsletter CUNYverse under the headline, “This CUNY graduate was the youngest attorney to serve on Johnny Depp’s legal team.”

“I worked with the team on the opening and closing and was the mistress of the facts of all the evidence,” she said. “If anyone needed photos or text messages, I would seek them out and help everyone as I went.”

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But on Thursday, the article had been replaced by a bizarre mea culpa.

“We understand the strong negative emotions caused by this article and we apologize for publishing the article,” the post read. “We removed it from our CUNYverse blog.”

Johnny Depp's lawyer, Yarelyn Mena, the youngest of his legal team, celebrates his June 1 victory in his libel lawsuit against his ex-wife Amber Heard.

Johnny Depp’s lawyer, Yarelyn Mena, the youngest of his legal team, celebrates his June 1 victory in his libel lawsuit against his ex-wife Amber Heard.
(AP)

The statement continued: “The article was not intended to express support for Mr. Depp, implied or otherwise, or to question Amber Heard’s allegations. Domestic violence is a serious problem in our society, and We regret any pain this article may have caused.”

In response to a request for comment, CUNY spokesperson Joseph Tirella referred Fox News Digital to the blog post.

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Outraged, CUNY Brooklyn College professor KC Johnson shared screenshots of the deleted article and the statement that replaced it on Twitter after a flurry of complaints.

“Not a good look for CUNY, to say the least,” he tweeted.

“A line of the institution’s creeping apologies could even be interpreted as casting doubt on the jury’s verdict in the civil case,” he wrote in another Tweet. “CUNY’s message to talented young graduates entering law seems to be – we will only celebrate you if we institutionally endorse your client.”

Attorney Richard Hoeg of the Hoeg Law Firm replied, “That’s pretty amazing.”

Another Twitter user criticized self-censorship. “This is especially appalling/hypocritical because the student, who helped win the defamation case, provided extensive evidence that her client was in fact a victim of domestic violence,” @jam2885 wrote.

The decision to take down the story also had many supporters on social media. Harvard Library curator John Overholt wrote on Twitter that the article was “a grotesque and pompous celebration of misogyny and abuse.”

After an epic six-week court battle in Fairfax, Va., Depp won his libel suit against Heard, scoring $10.35 million in damages.

The jury found that his ex-wife defamed him in a 2018 Washington Post op-ed in which she called herself a survivor of domestic violence.

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The seven-member panel also awarded Heard $2 million in his countersuit. Both parties said they were appealing the verdict.

Brown Rudnick LLP and Mena did not immediately respond to requests for comment.


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