Misleading Facebook Ads
These rumors began in paid advertisements on Facebook in early June 2022. The ads read, “Depp confirms the latest claims out of court. The celebrity has had a rough few moments because of this.” This was misleading and false.
Fake Fox News Article
The paid ad on Facebook led to a page that was designed by scammers to try to trick readers into believing they were on the official Fox News website and that Depp had endorsed CBD gummies. In reality, the article was not hosted on foxnews.com, nor did Fox News have anything to do with it.
The headline for the fake Fox News article read, “Big Pharma Outraged Over Johnny Depp‘s Latest Business Venture – After He Won The Defamation Trial!” The reference to a “defamation trial” was about Depp’s mostly victorious libel lawsuit against ex-wife Amber Heard, which had just ended days prior to the scammy and fake Fox News article being published online.
The fake Fox News article and other pages we found online claimed that Depp had endorsed CBD gummies under many of the following brand names: Bay Park, Clinical, Condor, Eagle Hemp, Gold Bee, Green Otter, Keoni, Liberty, Oros, PureKana, and Smilz. (In the past, we reported that, in order to promote these CBD gummies brands, fake “reviews” often flood search results on Google and Google News. The fake “reviews” appear in sponsored content space that is purchased on otherwise legitimate news websites.)
Not only did these pages use Depp‘s image and likeness without his authorization, but they also showed pictures and fake endorsement quotes from actor Paul Bettany and musician Keith Richards.
Ellen DeGeneres and Clint Eastwood
We noticed something humorous about the fake Fox News article. The article said that Depp appeared on “live TV” and gave pharmaceutical companies a piece of his mind, then offered “discounted free samples” of CBD gummies to “everyone.” This same storyline had been used before in other fake celebrity endorsement schemes for CBD or keto gummies. However, this time, one thing was missing from the same old CBD gummies scam script: Ellen DeGeneres. Usually with these scams, DeGeneres’ likeness is mentioned as if she had conducted an interview with the celebrity (in this case, Depp). However, the final episodes of “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” aired in May 2022, so the scammers appeared to have realized they needed to omit the usual fake transcript on an interview between Depp and DeGeneres.
In the past, at least one celebrity fought against these kinds of scams and won millions of dollars in a lawsuit. On Oct. 3, 2021, The New York Times reported that legendary actor and director Clint Eastwood won a $6.1 million lawsuit after a Lithuanian company “was accused of using Mr. Eastwood’s image and likeness to make it appear as though he was endorsing their products.”
Send Us Scammy Facebook Ads
If readers see a paid (“Sponsored”) ad on Facebook for what appears to be a CBD or keto gummies scam that features Depp or any other celebrities, feel free to contact us with two things: a screenshot and a link to the Facebook page.
First, take the screenshot using your phone, tablet, or computer. Then, click the Facebook page name at the top of the paid ad and find a way to copy the link to that particular page. Send it over to us and we will be happy to check it out.
In sum, there’s no evidence that Depp “confirmed” any recent claims “out of court,” nor did he ever endorse any CBD gummies products.
Bahr, Sarah. “Clint Eastwood Wins $6.1 Million CBD Lawsuit.” The New York Times, 3 Oct. 2021, https://www.nytimes.com/2021/10/03/movies/clint-eastwood-wins-cbd-lawsuit.html.
Lavoie, Denise. “Jury Sides with Depp on Lawsuit, Heard on Counterclaim.” Snopes.com via The Associated Press, 1 June 2022, https://www.snopes.com/ap/2022/06/01/jury-sides-with-depp-on-lawsuit-heard-on-counterclaim/.