Amber Heard’s Litigious PR Guru Gets Hammered by #MeToo Allegations, Threatens to Sue PJ Media

Amber Heard’s Litigious PR Guru Gets Hammered by #MeToo Allegations, Threatens to Sue PJ Media

Jim Lo Scalzo/Pool Photo via AP
If you’ve been following my coverage of the Johnny Depp trial then you know who David Shane is. He’s the guy Amber Heard turned to when her last public relations company failed to get good headlines for her after her ex-husband sued her for defamation. The change in media coverage for Heard was immediately noticeable after Shane took over. Several outlets began running positive articles for Heard, which coincided with Shane’s hiring, and the media has continued to report favorable stories, even when observers watching the trial see the opposite. Shane appears to be very good at his PR job.

What he’s not very good at is staying out of the press himself. He has become a huge part of the story for his own alleged behavior. PJ Media reported the allegations first while warning the public not to believe unproven social media claims. All that got us was a three-page letter from Shane’s attorney, Rebecca Kaufman, threatening to sue us if we didn’t take down the defense of Shane and his due process rights. You can’t make stuff like this up.

“As [Fox] well knows, allegations against others have proven the death knell to reputations and careers, and Mr. Shane will seek redress should your publication fail to immediately take down the claim,” wrote Kaufman, completely proving the point of my original article. This is what I wrote about Shane that made him so angry he paid someone hundreds of dollars an hour to write a three-page letter threatening to sue me.

There’s no way to confirm if random allegations are true, and the timing of it is a little too “on the nose.” One text message screenshot and someone’s anonymous story shouldn’t be a basis to destroy anyone’s reputation, including Shane’s. These could both be faked. But considering that Shane is repping Heard, a notorious liar who used her story of dubious domestic violence to bolster her career while destroying her ex-husband’s, it’s at least ironic if not hilarious.

The phrase “hoisted on his own petard” comes to mind. Shane’s website is not working properly, the contact information and all menu items have disappeared. His social media accounts also appear to be inactive.

It should be noted that I am a great defender of due process, and Shane deserves the presumption of innocence like all people caught up in the #MeToo hysteria — including Johnny Depp. No one should ever take internet rumors or one-sided accusations as truth. (But it’s still a little funny that it happened to Heard’s crisis manager.)

Shane also claimed that PJ Media did not reach out to him prior to publishing in order to offer him the chance to respond. This is false. After PJ Media’s legal counsel sent him evidence of the missive sent before publishing and offered to update the article with his comments, Shane’s lawyer disappeared and didn’t send a response.

Related: Here’s the Evidence I’d Need to See Before I’d Believe Amber Heard Is Not a Lying Psycho

But since the initial scuffle with Shane and his lawyer, the anonymous accuser has come forward and has been named as 32-year-old Hollie Doker. Another accuser, a New York Post reporter who says she was on the receiving end of Shane’s creep show inside the courtroom while reporting on Depp v. Heard, has also come forward. The Post reported:

Recently, he tried to get a female Post reporter to link up with him at his hotel on the empty promise of a meeting with Heard, amid her testimony about allegedly being sexually abused by Depp.

When he first met the reporter in the Virginia courtroom two weeks ago, Shane twice touched her gently on the shoulder and told her, “You look beautiful.”

He then offered the reporter an exclusive sit-down with Heard — but told her to first meet him at his hotel, screenshots from their messages confirm.

After the reporter, who is in her early 30s, failed to agree to meet him there, the sit-down with Heard fell through.

In a follow-up article in Newsweek titled “Why Amber Heard’s Spin Doctor is Facing His Own Nightmare,” Kaufman said, “Mr. Shane denied acting inappropriately with a New York Post reporter who was hoping to get an exclusive interview with his client Amber Heard.” Then Kaufman threatened to see the reporter in court. “[Shane] will clear his name in court by showing screenshots of his full text exchange with the reporter.”

(If her threat letter was anything like mine, it was riddled with court cases that don’t support Shane’s claim of defamation like Cianci v. New Times Pub., which was dismissed in favor of the defendant: “The court, in deciding the present motion, finds nothing in the New Times article which can be the basis for this libel action.” I’m sure the Post‘s lawyers read Shane’s histrionic letter while choking on laughter—much like I did.)

But that’s not the end of the bad news for Shane. The Daily Mail reported that Shane is known in the public relations world as a “walking #MeToo case” and that witnesses are too scared to come forward because of Shane’s litigious nature. PJ Media can confirm that Shane is indeed “litigious” to such an extent that he threatened to sue the only publication that told people not to believe his accusers on their word alone!  

His alleged transgressions are so well-known in PR circles that he is nicknamed ‘Hurricane Shane’ and ‘the walking #MeToo case of the PR world,’ industry insiders claim.

According to his former colleagues, who spoke to anonymously for fear of reprisals from the ‘litigious’ Shane, he was investigated by HR departments at both Hewlett-Packard and Juniper, where he worked as vice president of communications from 2008 to 2010 and 2010 to 2012 respectively.

The ex-colleagues said both cases involved claims of sexual harassment, and both were followed by Shane leaving the companies, although it is not clear whether his departure was because of the investigations, and Shane denied that any complaints had been filed against him…

‘He would cozy up to, and try to separate from the pack, a very young, vulnerable, member of the external PR firm,’ Shane’s former colleague said…’It was typical, textbook grooming, harassment, and taking advantage of younger people who might not know better or are afraid to speak out.’

One of the former colleagues called Shane “wildly inappropriate.”

Two former colleagues told that in 2012 Shane left his job as vice president of communications at Silicon Valley tech firm Juniper following a slew of complaints.

In one of the incidents, Shane allegedly used company funds to pay women to ‘improve the gender balance’ and ‘create a club feel’ at a 2011 conference event in Hong Kong attended by Al Gore.

‘He thought it was too heavily male, and so added some females into the mix,’ one former Juniper staffer said. ‘It was wildly inappropriate.

The females Shane allegedly added to the mix were scantily clad hostesses for hire who were tasked with “working the room.” The source reported that Gore’s people asked organizers to keep the women away from them.

It’s not just the #MeToo allegations plaguing Shane but also a couple of public records that the Daily Mail dug up showing two DUI arrests that landed him in jail in 2010 and 2012.

Kaufman told the Daily Mail that focusing on Shane’s problems is just a distraction from the real story. “It’s easy to get distracted by anonymous, false accusations, but the focus should be on the merits of the defamation case pending in Fairfax County, Virginia and the relevant facts presented at trial.”

There’s no chance we won’t be paying attention to the Depp v. Heard trial, but, unfortunately for Shane, we can also multi-task. And if any of his palaverous threats turn into lawsuits, we will make sure to follow those too.

PJ Media reached out to Shane for comment but did not hear from him at the time of publishing. We will update if we do hear from him or his attorney in any form, but secretly I’m hoping for another verbose and pricey letter.

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