The tale of how the media has failed to present the mutual abuse between divorcees Amber Heard and A-List Sex Symbol, Johnny Depp.
Meet the generation who represents a trial with the medium of TikTok’s, viral edits, and tweets. Welcome to the Depp defamation trial, that has been misrepresented by and because of the media. Salutations from an article that will reveal the tale of abuse, detaching lies from the truth, presenting to you all the facts that you may need to form a real opinion.
The Depp Defamation Trial surrounds Johnny Depp suing his ex-wife Amber Heard over an op-ed she did; defaming him over his alleged abuse towards her. Yet the world racks in confusion. Amber claims Johnny abused her, and Johnny claims Amber abused him. So what is the truth?
Here is your guide on what is known, unknown, and the implications of this in terms of how gendered violence is perceived by the common public.
Whose being sued, and why?
Pirates of The Caribbean actor, Johnny Depp is suing his ex-wife Amber Heard over an op-ed she had published in the Washington Post in 2018, alleging his abuse towards her. This $50 million lawsuit doesn’t come as a surprise after Heard’s string of allegations against Depp.
Amber Heard accused celebrity Johnny Depp of domestic violence in May of 2016 when only a few days post their divorce, she had filed for a temporary restraining order against him. The order itself, was issued under the grounds of domestic violence. Depp’s lawyers were strongly opinionated about Heard’s apparent dishonesty claiming that she was, “attempting to secure a premature financial resolution by alleging abuse.”
In August of 2016, the couple decided for an out-of-court divorce settlement. It was during this settlement that Amber had withdrawn her request for a permanent restraining order. Furthermore, the two issued a joint statement that stated that the contradictory statements both made, were both untrue. This boiled down to (1)“There was never an intent of physical or emotional harm” (thus implying that Depp wasn’t abusive), and on the other, (2)“Neither party has made false accusations for financial gains” (thus indicating that Amber wasn’t issuing false allegations in hope for landing a better financial settlement).
Amber Heard reportedly donated the $7 million she received as a result of that settlement to the charities ACLU and the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles.
In October of 2017, as the #MeToo movement ramped up, so did the outrage about how famous men in power have gotten away with assault, violence and rape. Amidst this outcry, Amber Heard pushing for a temporary restraining order against Depp gained larger importance. It was around that time when Heard dropped her op-ed, discussing issues of domestic violence.
In March of 2019, Johnny Depp issued a $50 million defamation suit against Heard for the op-ed she had written. In January of 2021, Amber Heard countersued him for $100 million. The trial that is taking place in Virginia currently, is Johnny’s lawsuit against Heard.
The Sun and the UK trial
Johnny Depp had sued British tabloid, The Sun’s editor and publisher for libel after it had referred to Depp as a “wife beater” in a published article.
The case went up in London in 2020, where the burden rested on The Sun to prove that their statement about Johnny Depp were accurate. The newspaper called Heard where she provided 14 detailed accounts of domestic abuse, which led them to win the lawsuit.
The judge stated that “Mr. Depp put her in fear of her life,” and soon after this trial, actor Johnny Depp announced that he had been asked to resign from the Fantastic Beasts franchise, where he had an upcoming major role to play.
The only thing clear in this case, is how unclear the circumstances and situations are.
Amber Heard has been unheard
Contrary to the media’s portrayal, there is persuasive evidence that Johnny Depp has acted violently towards Aquaman actress Amber Heard. At The Sun trial, Amber has submitted a large amount of evidence, including witness testimony, text conversations, diary entries, emails and photographic evidence of bruising. This demonstrated a lucid pattern of abuse, by Depp while he was under the influence of either drugs or alcohol (both of which Depp has agreed to often be under the influence of).
An incident Heard detailed was the one in June of 2013, when one of Heard’s female friends hugged her. Amber goes on to detail that Depp, who was both drunk, and high on mushrooms, furiously grabbed the woman’s wrists and went to the extent to threaten to hurt her. Following this, he supposedly trashed the cabin where they were living, simultaneously hitting Amber, and throwing glasses at her. Various witnesses accounted that Johnny often got vexed and trashed the cabin. Further discovery led to a string of texts between Johnny Depp and fellow actor Paul Bettany where they discussed burning ‘the witch’. During the trial, Johnny dismissed these texts as ‘abstract humor’, but it leads one to really wonder why he might’ve sent these texts in the first place.
Meanwhile, in March of 2015, in Australia, Amber Heard claims that Depp reportedly spent three days on a violent streak. Furthermore, she comments that he had repeatedly assaulted her. Both parties agree that the tip of Depp’s finger had been injured during this period. The contradictions begin to come in when Depp says Heard threw a bottle at him and cut the tip of his finger off; whilst Amber says Johnny cut it off himself because of constantly punching the wall and a wall-mounted, plastic phone. She even goes on to say that Depp used his wounded finger to scribble degrading graffiti about Amber on both, a mirror and a lampshade. Heard’s sister and friend Rocky Pennington testified in court that they had seen her covered in bruises and cuts shortly after the incident. Moreover, stating that Amber had told them that Johnny Depp had assaulted her. Texts indicate Depp’s staff talking about how they didn’t know the cause that led to the injury.
Looking at past instances, in 2009, Heard had gotten into a heated argument with her then girlfriend Tasya van Ree. The Police had to arrest Heard after she reportedly hit Tasya’s arm. Furthermore, Heard’s former assistant, Kate James, testified in court that when she asked Amber for a pay raise, Heard had simply spat in her face.
Facing contradictions, Heard’s lawyers brought up a concealer she allegedly used to cover up her bruises. Soon after this claim, the company reached out to issue a statement that the palette in question had been released a year after the alleged abuse.
The male victim of domestic violence
Contrastingly, there is an abundance of proof that goes to show that Amber Heard was violent towards Depp.
Depp has released audio recordings of conversations he had with Heard during their marriage. It was within those recordings that Heard herself refers to hitting Depp. She says, “I’m sorry that I didn’t … hit you across the face in a proper slap, but I was hitting you, it was not punching you. Babe, you’re not punched. I don’t know what the motion of my actual hand was, but you’re fine, I did not hurt you, I did not punch you, I was hitting you.”
To this, Johnny Depp responds that “I just couldn’t take the idea of more physicality, more physical abuse on each other,” telling Heard that “I’m scared to death we are a fucking crime scene right now.” Heard then replied to him saying, “I can’t promise you I won’t get physical again. God, I fucking sometimes get so mad I lose it.”
Furthermore, there is evidence from audio recordings where Heard mocks that people would believe that he, Johnny Depp, a man, is a victim of domestic violence.
“I lost a fucking finger, man,” says Depp. “I had a can of mineral spirits thrown at my face.” “You can tell people it was a fair fight, and then see what the jury and judge thinks,” Heard says. “Tell the world, Johnny. Tell them, ‘Johnny Depp, I, a man, I’m a victim, too, of domestic violence, it’s a fair fight,’ and see how many people believe or side with you.”
Whilst Depp has a history of being accused of damaging property and issuing verbal threats, never has he been accused of domestic violence. Furthermore, his past girlfriends have described it as exceedingly uncharacteristic of Depp to do something of the sort.
Depp is also arguing that Heard hasn’t actually donated her full divorce settlement to charity as she said she would. While Heard promised to give the ACLU $3.5 million, the ACLU has confirmed that she only donated $1.3 million, and that it believes about $500,000 of that money came from Elon Musk, whom Heard briefly dated after her divorce from Depp.
Depp’s team has called Laurel Anderson, a marriage counselor to provide testimony at the trial. Anderson, who counseled Depp and Heard during their marriage, said she considered them to inherit the dynamic of “mutual abuse.”
Anderson testified that she had seen Heard bruised after quarrels with Depp, and that Heard told her she had initiated physical fights with Depp on multiple occasions. She said she had assumed, not with certainty however, that Johnny Depp had also initiated physical fights with Heard.
Why is the media supporting Depp?
Twitter. TikTok. Facebook. Instagram. Reddit. On every media outlet, there is massive amounts of support for actor Johnny Depp, with nothing more than insults, and an absolute rejection of Amber Heard.
A society that has placed Depp in the upper echelons of being a three time Oscar nominee, two time People’s Sexiest Man, and a household name; can’t let the admiration fade away. Furthermore, the conversation about Depp has grown into a larger discussion about how male victims are often ignored as a result of a society that’s learned to believe women, and women only.
This trial not only goes to show you how lop-sided information is produced by media outlets, but it goes to show you how it has the power to taint the reputation of anyone in question.
Yet what can we conclude today?
While the decision of the jury is still awaited, what we can surmise is that Johnny Depp was, and still is a star; singlehandedly grabbing the attention of the world, over a lawsuit he may not even win.
Whether or not Amber Heard wins this trial, she has lost money, her career but more importantly, her reputation in front of the world.
In a post #MeToo world, this case goes to show that yes, male voices are being heard; but the question arises of how we as a society come down to uncovering truth from the fiction.
Perhaps it is difficult for society to look at a story and realize that there are no heroes. That in fact, the dynamic between Depp and Heard was nothing more than a tale of mutual abuse.