- Damaris Chanza
The Potential Ramifications of the Depp v Heard Verdict
It doesn't matter who you believe; the ramifications of the Depp v Heard trial will affect gender relations in ways we might not have anticipated.
On June 1st, the verdict of the grueling six-week defamation trial between Johnny Deep and Amber Heard was announced. A jury decided Amber Heard defamed Johnny Depp in her Washington Post op-ed describing her experiences with domestic abuse. If you're one of the few people who didn't follow the trial, a quick google search will land you in a mountain of articles to read from all sorts of perspectives.
I didn't religiously follow the trial, but I did stay somewhat informed. However, everything I know is not necessarily from live-streamed footage but from the endless memes, TikTok's, reels, and youtube videos created about the trial. Most of what I saw was people hating and discrediting Amber Heard. The sheer number of conspiracies was ridiculous. I laughed more often than I felt concerned for the stories of abuse involved.
Something that people are forgetting is that Amber Heard also "won." She claimed Depp's lawyer labeling her allegations as a "hoax" defamed her, and the jury agreed with her. However, this fact did not make headlines; it was buried deep in articles explaining the verdict.
So why does this matter, and why do we care?
This was not just celebrities fighting over money. Once their celebrity status is removed, they are merely divorcees who removed themselves from an abusive marriage. Would we still have laughed if these people were our friends or family members or even one of those sad stories you stumble across online?
Regardless of what I may think of Amber Heard, she is still a woman who spoke out against her abuser on a public platform, and her entire character was investigated and deteriorated as a result. Women who speak out as victims of domestic abuse are often dragged online.
Regardless of what I may think of Johnny Depp, he is still a man who spoke out against his female abuser on a public platform, and his entire character as a man was investigated and deteriorated as a result. Men who speak out as victims of domestic abuse are often not taken seriously.
Why would a woman speak out against abuse if even a famous, wealthy white woman isn't believed? Why would a man speak out against abuse if a wealthy man with a giant fanbase still isn't believed?
The actual extent of abuse between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard will probably remain between them. The public only knows so much, but their trial amplifies the fears behind revealing yourself as a victim of abuse.
Women are scared of getting every aspect of themselves destroyed due to abuse. Some women are weaponizing their assumed victimhood and destroying reputations. Men are afraid of being accused of abuse that never occurred. Some men are abusers and use examples of false accusations to try to justify their actions.
There is no winning.
Johnny Depp did not win. Amber Heard did not win. Everything about their existence as a couple has been scrutinized and parodied by strangers on the internet, where it will live forever. The millions of dollars exchanged as a result of the verdict are nothing compared to the implications of such a decision. How could anyone claim that as a "win."
Will this verdict be used as precedence for people claiming to be falsely accused of abuse? Will this be another example of scaring victims into silence? The ramifications of this verdict are endless.
Then again, what do I know? This is just my opinion, what's yours?