The Media, Hollywood, and the #MeToo Movement: What the Johnny Depp/Heard Trial Says
Domestic violence is not a pleasurable experience. Abuse, whether sexual, emotional, or physical, is never enjoyable. The #MeToo movement, like the George Floyd protests in the summer of 2020, gave victims of sexual assault the power to be heard for the first time. It was undoubtedly a direct response to Donald Trump’s election in 2016, as the first reports of sexual harassment and assault surfaced at that time. In the aftermath of the Harvey Weinstein story, I contributed to a New York Times article that foreshadowed the MeToo campaign.
However, the reckoning came to be weaponized in both the Me Too movement and the Social Justice revolution of 2020. The Me Too campaign became a tool of power for victims, primarily women, who could accuse anyone of anything and be believed regardless of the evidence. It was and still is, considered a moral crime not to trust them. The concept of “believing all women” fostered a climate in which due process and the presumption of innocence were lost. In its place, instant guilt and punishment are imposed just by making the charge.
The forced resignation of then-Senator Al Franken was the first moment I realized something was seriously wrong with the Me Too movement. I’ve never fully recovered from it, and it’s one of the reasons I’m no longer a Democrat (I am a non-affiliated voter at the moment). Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, and Bernie Sanders all banded together to force him out without a fair hearing. I was well aware that the charges leveled against him were false and misleading. It didn’t matter, though. In the court of public opinion, he was now found guilty.
I’ve put myself in the crosshairs of defending men who have been wrongfully charged, in my opinion. I’ve been skeptical of charges against men in a period of weaponized power since the Franken accusations. I never believe women on their own. Or anyone else. When I’m asked to “believe” in something that borders on organized religion, I cringe. Thank you, but no thanks. I’ll pay attention and make an assessment. But if I believe the Twitter hive mind is wrong or imposing unfair punishment, I will speak up.
This is something that everyone who knows me is aware of. Bullies irritate me. I despise it when individuals are bullied. It’s the one thing that sets me off. I will always stand out for anyone who I believe is being unfairly targeted. Whatever I get in exchange for doing that, whether it’s Ansel Elgort, Joe Biden, Nate Parker, or my buddies, keeping my head down and saying nothing isn’t my thing.
So, why am I not on Team Amber Heard, you might ask? She appears to be the target of a horde of online Johnny Depp haters. While I don’t condone bullying of any form, I feel what’s going on here is more of a pushback against the Me Too movement’s “believe all women” mantra than it is a direct attack on Heard. Don’t get me wrong: I’ve seen ugliness on social media when it comes to her, but I’ve also seen high-minded journalists fighting for her, which has more clout. I’ve been bullied more times than I can remember, and it’s a pain. My concern this time is not Amber Heard, but Johnny Depp because so many of us have grown protective of him and want to see him vindicate his name of what are bogus claims.
I Too’s a reckoning, or rather, those institutions and hive minds that punish people who are wrongfully accused is the Amber Heard/Johnny Depp trial. The painful think pieces that have sprung up in the aftermath of the trial — I can’t even stomach to google them — have done more damage to the Me Too movement than a favorable decision. Because the entire world witnessed the trial, it is now clear that Heard lied. That is, the activists are demanding adherence to a concept that encourages and protects lying. That means that any time a woman makes a false accusation and everyone supports her without due process, everyone’s credibility is thrown out the window.
How can anyone expect the general population to support someone who is lying? What evidence do I have that she isn’t telling the truth? Because the lawyers for Johnny Depp have established their case. That’s all there is to it. The second time Amber Heard took the stand, Camille Vasquez’s cross-examination of her was devastating. She should never have gone on the stand the second time. She just did it because she feels compelled to try to kill Depp every time she sees him. He testified a second time, explaining what this trial had done for him, and forcing her to testify again. But she had to meet with Vasquez, who was not shy in her confrontation.
Heard appears to believe, and rightly so, that she can talk her way out of the disaster she has created. When a police officer testified that she witnessed her ex-wife being assaulted, she denied it. Heard then accused the police of homophobia, although the officer was a lesbian, which was bad for Heard. Johnny not only wrecked the camper in Hicksville but also digitally assaulted her that night, according to her and her friends. She didn’t anticipate the hotel manager seeing the testimony and showing up to update the record. Heard then tries to dismiss him as a nobody who has appeared out of nowhere to take part in the trial.
She wasn’t expecting a TMZ reporter to show there and testify that it was her team who sent TMZ to the courthouse and told them to pause when she came outside and turn her head so they could photograph her ‘bruise.’ Her lawyer accuses him of attempting to participate in in the trial as well. The next day, Vasquez exhibits a photo of Heard without a bruise on her face.
But it is Heard herself who is the most damaging. She made her recordings. She never sounds like a victim of domestic violence when she’s in the courtroom or on the witness stand. She has no fear of Depp, her alleged abuser, and continues to mock and ridicule him while testifying. You don’t do that, as every victim of abuse knows.
“That’s the difference between you and me,” Amber Heard says. “You’re a tot.”
“Because you start physical fights?” says Johnny Depp.
“You’re such a baby!” Amber Heard exclaims. Johnny, grow up!”
Anyone in a relationship like hers, where she feared for her life (despite giving him a large hunting knife as a gift, hmm alright) and was hit for no apparent reason while he was inebriated, would not refer to him as a “baby.” She punishes him for walking away from battles. She dismisses him for refusing to stay and fight with her. She seemed to be urging him to get physical to demonstrate his manhood.
The defamation case might go in Heard’s favor, resulting in a full-fledged Amazing Amy. If they witnessed the trial, no sane person who wasn’t engulfed in hysteria could believe Heard. People with common sense will recognize that she is lying. However, this may or may not be relevant to whether she is guilty of defamation (she is). What should not happen, however, is activists and the media putting pressure on people to “believe” Amber Heard. This jeopardizes their integrity, as well as the legitimacy of the Me Too movement.
Heard is a woman with remarkable intelligence. She could’ve been anyone or anything. Although acting was not her strong point, she may have become a good doctor, lawyer, or politician. She was blessed with both beauty and celebrity. But behind it all, she was broken, damaged, and unable of controlling her rage in a relationship with someone she adored. Abusive relationships necessitate the convergence of two opposing personalities to produce such a deadly dynamic. There isn’t a single moment during this trial when it isn’t obvious who the abuser is.
I’m not sure how she’ll recover from this, but I do know that she’ll continue to be defended by a sizable online and media force. Documentaries will be made, and articles will be written, I believe. This is Amber Heard’s final chapter. I’m hoping it isn’t the case with her. I hope she comes clean and is honest, and that she accepts whatever repercussions are imposed on her. From the inside out, lies decay. They will annihilate you. The truth will set you free, no matter how horrible it is.
The media and the cops couldn’t figure out why the trial had taken on a life of its own on TikTok. You must comprehend the app’s functionality. If Twitter is all about people swarming and denouncing each other, TikTok is all about following a trend. It’s all about banding together with other users using a specific hashtag. It’s a unique experience compared to Twitter. It’s a lot of fun.
I put together a video montage of just a few of the videos that have been streaming through the app in the last few days:
With the outpouring of support on TikTok, a new hashtag has emerged: #justiceforjohnnydepp. Sure, some of it is poisonous bullying, but the majority of it is supportive love. This hashtag has brought together people from all walks of life and skin tones from all over the world. There is also some healing in that.
Hollywood, Twitter, and the rest of the country should all get used to TikTok’s influence. People aren’t merely interested in entertainment, court cases, or news items. They keep an eye on the folks who are keeping an eye on them. In the age of social media, I believe it is vital to maintain one’s critical thinking skills, and TikTok makes it exceedingly difficult not to engage in something like the Depp/Heard trial, which has become such a major cultural phenom. On TikTok, you can’t escape it. It’s all over the place.
The trial provided a nice diversion at a time when our country and the rest of the globe are dealing with one tragic event after another. It’s become the new normal.