April 22, 2022 Update: This case has become extremely overwhelming and I can no longer follow it without getting triggered. All of this is far too twisted for me. PS I hope you are doing alright in this pandemic. COVID-19, huh? Hard to accept it’s still a newsmaker in 2022…
Unless you’re someone who avoids celebrity news, you’ve surely heard of the Amber Heard and Johnny Depp trial. For the uninitiated, Amber Heard is an actress and former wife of the legendary actor Johnny Depp. They divorced back in 2017 and shortly after, Amber alleged that she suffered from domestic abuse at the hands of Johnny. When The Sun called the latter a “wife beater” in an article, he sued the newspaper for libel. The libel trial took place last month and well, it made explosive headlines day after day. There was a lot of ‘he said she said’ involved and when celebrities are involved, the public gets nosy. I’m pretty sure it also got more attention because we are all suffering the consequences of a pandemic. A celebrity scandal was a welcome distraction, an escape from our unforeseen reality. Fans picked sides and got into fights, with both camps making some valid points.
But I’m not here to discuss who’s right and who’s wrong. That is the job of the law. All I want to say is that this case is bigger than these two individuals. It will set a precedent for other people–famous or otherwise–who want to speak up against domestic abuse.
Therefore, we owe it to victims of domestic abuse to listen to Amber without bias. Yes, Johnny is a highly beloved and successful actor, while Amber isn’t either of these things yet. But that does not mean we have the right to slander her by calling her names like liar, gold-digger, or narcissist.
Abuse takes on many forms, it doesn’t have to be physical. Anyone can abuse and anyone can be abused. As a victim of psychological abuse, I have been silenced. I know what it feels like to be gaslit, to have my character assassinated, and that is why I stand with Amber Heard. In a post-MeToo era, it’s the ethical thing to hear her out without making snap judgments.
Also, the fact that Johnny Depp’s exes spoke up in his defense is not relevant. Just because they were never abused does not mean he could not abuse any other woman, right?
Look, I am sorry that one of the world’s most beloved actors was a “monster” to Amber. Just because hordes of people admire him does not mean he is perfect. We are all human and we all make mistakes. Let’s not forget that addiction can make one behave violently, and Depp did admit to having a drug addiction problem. Who knows, maybe they both abused each other due to issues like mental illness, incompatibility, and a wide generation gap. Plus, toxic behavior is so normalized in relationships. Speculation is easy, and I do it too. It’s natural but it can be devastating when done publicly.
Whether you are a fan of Depp or Heard, you have to listen without bias to both parties. For this to happen, we have to stop seeing her as the crazy or evil woman that so many people are busy painting her as. FYI, I’m not a fan of either. For me, it isn’t a gender war either because I’m a feminist.
This case is making history as we speak and is bigger than these two individuals. Media coverage and public behavior will impact future cases of women speaking up against domestic abuse.
We can’t control media coverage or others’ opinions, can we? The least we can do is consume information mindfully and listen without taking sides.
Jan 11, 2021 update:
I’m not going to take abuse from random people who don’t even bother to read beyond the headline before writing whatever they feel like. Comments have been closed for this very reason.
I repeat: I’m not a fan of either. We can never know what happened behind closed doors and honestly, both seem to have made some bad choices in their relationship.
That said, it is clear from these Guardian articles that AH had and still has it a lot worse than JD: Johnny Depp loses libel case against Sun over claims he beat ex-wife Amber Heard and How Amber Heard stood alone against a Hollywood superstar.
If any evidence surfaces that JD is the bigger victim than AH, I will be more than okay to post an update about the same. Because the point of this post is to raise awareness about domestic violence, however nuanced and complicated it may be. So instead of obsessing over celebrities, please introspect and focus on yourself and the people around you.