And we were juuuuust talking about DARVO in Melayna’s previous post today about the Johnny Depp Amber Heard verdict. Deny, Attack, Reverse Victim and Offender – it worked in court for Johnny Depp and now another lawsuit featuring two superstars is making headlines as, somehow, Brad Pitt’s accusations against Angelina Jolie over the winery they used to own together have been made public with most of the coverage, of course, favouring him. 


The dispute between Brad and Angelina over Chateau Miraval has been news since last summer when Angelina asked a court to allow her to sell her shares in the company because she’d been treated like a “disregarded business partner”. What hasn’t been mentioned enough in the current reporting about the situation is that Angelina was trying for a long time to get Brad to buy her out. His complaint right now is that she ended up selling to partners that he has problems with but remember, he could have been his own partner; despite numerous attempts by Angelina who “exchanged many proposals” to unload her half of the business, they could not come to an agreement after over two years of negotiations. Which is when she started looking for a third party buyer and went to court for the approval. 

So she did all this out in the open, nothing secretive, nothing shady. 

The way the coverage of the situation is making it sound, however, is that Angelina “sought to inflict harm” by selling to Tenuto del Mondo, the eventual buyer, a company that is “indirectly owned and controlled by Yuri Shefler, the Russian billionaire who controls the Stoli Group”. Stoli Group is A LIQUOR COMPANY! In other words, a company with experience managing liquor products, a reasonable place to offload a liquor asset. I mean, if we’re talking about “inflicting harm”, she could have sold her half to a dog food company that didn’t know what the f-ck industry they were getting into, but sure. 


What is also not being mentioned in the new reporting today is what I previously wrote about back in February– that not only did a court APPROVE that Angelina could move ahead with the sale of Miraval, but that several months after her half of Miraval was acquired by Tenuto del Mondo, Tenuto actually initiated court proceedings against Brad Pitt’s company because Brad refused to cooperate and open up the books of the estate so that the new partners could see what they were working with, suspecting mismanagement and irresponsible spending. That was actually Angelina’s frustration too; she was a partner who was “disregarded” in the management of one of her assets. 

Brad then is suing Angelina in response to being sued himself by a much bigger, much more powerful company, putting all of the blame on her for his business troubles. And banking on the media not wanting to get into the weeds of the situation to favourably highlight his position over hers, tapping into our culture’s interminable misogyny, which has been emboldened in recent weeks by Johnny Depp’s f-cksh-t, to feed the idea that Angelina “sought to inflict harm” because women are vengeful bitches and plotting to bring all men down. 


Like Johnny Depp, Brad Pitt is also seeking a trial by jury. Not for defamation but for breach of contract, because he claims he and Angelina had an “understanding”. That, to me, seems to be key here because if there was any paperwork to support his contention, he would have produced it. So what he’s pushing for is a jury to hear about what this “understanding” really was – in other words, their private communication, what they exchanged with each other both as spouses and business partners. And if he succeeds in it going that far, it’s hard to imagine that he and his team won’t pull out the DARVO playbook and mobilise the same social media attack strategy that we’ve just spent weeks observing. Maybe he too will want the cameras turned on in the courtroom for the full spectacle.