How Hard Is It to Disclose Your Ties to Johnny Depp’s Legal Team?

Absolutely fascinating choice by Savannah Guthrie to reveal this conflict of interest now, post-verdict.

How Hard Is It to Disclose Your Ties to Johnny Depp’s Legal Team?
Photo:L: Photo by Karwai Tang, R: Neil Mockford/GC Images (Getty Images)

Savannah Guthrie revealed that her husband Michael Feldman (pictured above) did “consulting work” for the Johnny Depp legal team as a part of his victorious defamation trial. When did she reveal this? Just casually at the beginning of an interview with his defense team Wednesday morning.

If you also had a “sorry I just hallucinated” moment, let me repeat: Today anchor Savannah Guthrie nonchalantly revealed that her husband had “done consulting work for the Depp legal team” prior to interviewing the team on the NBC morning show.

This is the first time this disclosure was made, despite Depp’s defamation case against ex-wife Amber Heard going on for nearly two months. Guthrie’s disclosure, almost as an aside, starts at 1:37 in the full interview video.

“A quick disclosure, my husband has done consulting work for the Depp legal team, but not in connection with this interview,” Guthrie said. “So with that aside, let me ask you, did you speak to your client right after the verdict?”

What’s perhaps more bonkers about Wednesday’s disclosure is that Guthrie literally interviewed Heard’s attorney, Elaine Bredehoft, last week. She did not say her husband did consulting work for the opposing counsel during this interview.

Feldman and Guthrie have been married since 2014. His previous work includes Al Gore’s traveling chief of staff during the 2000 presidential campaign. He founded a consulting firm with two other former Gore aides that has since been eaten by a giant global consultancy firm.

I know objectivity in journalism is a way to uphold the status quo, but I do think this is a cut-and-dry example of Interviews You Should Give to Your Colleagues. Today has been covering the couple’s ongoing legal battles in the United Kingdom, and Gutherie actually got their engagement exclusive back in 2014. In fact, I would argue Guthrie’s husband’s consultancy relationship, which is likely financial, deserves an on-air disclosure to viewers of one of the nation’s largest morning news program. There are so many anchors and reporters at Today; Guthrie did not have to be the anchor to take both of these interviews.

Jezebel has reached out to NBC News for comment.

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