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Inside Johnny Depp’s Victory Against Lies, #MeToo, and the Media Onslaught

Al fin llegó la justica para Jhonny Depp

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EARTHLY JUSTICE sometimes takes time and sadly sometimes fails to arrive. But this time it didn’t. And it should be celebrated: Johnny Depp — who emerged triumphant from a grueling and mediatic trial against Amber Heard — was the representative of many who, like him, suffered in their own flesh the terrible consequences of slander and defamation.

Guilty until proven innocent

In Depp’s case, the legal figure “Innocent until proven guilty” was not respected by the media. Amber Heard, his ex-wife, published an article in 2018 in the pages of The Washington Post amidst the rise of the #MeToo movement. The actress accused her ex-husband of raping and abusing her, completely destroying the reputation of the Pirates of the Caribbean star.

Johnny Depp’s name went down the drain. He fell from grace. Hollywood turned its back on him, tabloids like The Sun treated him as a wife-beater, the world berated him as a criminal and Disney disowned him of his glorious character Jack Sparrow. The actor’s life changed overnight leaving him a guilty man until proven innocent.

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Despite the wide coverage of the trial, little has been said about the situation Johnny Depp had to face. His famous ex-wife accused him of being a monster, in the midst of such a biased and problematic movement as #MeToo. Can you really come back from that? She knew it and that’s why she delivered that phrase that became so viral these days: “Tell the world, Johnny, tell them: ‘I, Johnny Depp, I’m a victim, too, of domestic violence, and it was a fair fight,’ and see if people believe or side with you.”

Heard’s logic, though perverse, is relentless. The world does not normally believe a man’s defense, especially when there is a public accusation against him. However, the actress did not count on the fact that the evidence was so strong that it was very difficult for people not to believe Depp.

Al fin llegó la justica para Johnny Depp
Johnny Depp reacts as he leaves after the closing arguments in Depp’s $50 million defamation trial against Heard in Fairfax County Circuit Court in Fairfax, Virginia, U.S., May 27, 2022. (EFE)

Johnny Depp’s bravery cleared his name

Even though the case was solid, it takes a lot of courage to admit that your wife was harassing you to take her to court without knowing if public opinion would support you or give you the benefit of the doubt. But that’s nothing when you consider that, to reach this trial, Depp had to endure the defeat of a similar court battle against The Sun in 2020.

In other words, Depp was not only fighting against his bad reputation, but against a judicial precedent that left him even worse off. Pursuing action against Heard was, definitely, putting what little he had left at risk.

But courage sometimes pays off. His lawyers, very smart and prepared, first took it upon themselves to bring the lawsuit to Virginia, avoiding the strict Anti-SLAPP laws (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) of states like California, and thus surmount the first big hurdle where Heard’s legal team would end the lawsuit without going to trial. Then came the hard part: proving that Depp was the villain in a poorly told story and that the evidence, in fact, proved Heard as the violent one in the story.

Ultimately, Heard was found guilty, unanimously, of defaming the actor with her domestic violence allegations. She must now pay her former husband $15,000,000 in restitution. Some media outlets decontextualize the actor’s huge victory when they headline that the jury found them both guilty of defamation.  

Yes, the jury found that Depp, through a declaration from his former lawyer Adam Waldman, defamed Heard when in a statement to the Daily Mail in 2020 he claimed that the actress had orchestrated a defamation scheme against the actor with her friends. As no such allegation was proven, the actor was ordered to pay $2,000,000. However, it is a cheap consolation as the actress filed a $100,000,000 counterclaim on three counts. Only the contested defamation argument through Waldman proceeded, while Depp hit the jackpot.

Actress Amber Heard awaiting the jury verdict in the Depp v. Heard civil defamation trial at the Fairfax County Circuit Court in Fairfax, Virginia, U.S., June 01, 2022. (EFE)

The victim is none other than Depp

It is curious how some media analyze the outcome of this renowned case. Instead of covering how an innocent man was sinisterly harmed by the media for years, they sympathize with the culprit. They say, following the very narrative of Heard’s regrettable statement that this victory for Heard is a setback for women, yet nothing could be further from the truth.

If anyone in this case has done harm to women suffering from domestic violence, it is none other than Amber Heard, who took advantage of a delicate social context, and her own condition as an alleged abused woman, to falsely accuse her ex-husband by ruining his life.

Make no mistake: here the victim is not Amber Heard, who was left as a liar before the world, nor the sentence that it is a defeat for women who suffer domestic abuse — as some media analyze — here the victim is none other than Depp, who was finally able to clear his name.

Many do not realize it, but automatically accepting the allegations as absolute truth is a big problem for the justice systems of all countries. Who will help Johnny Depp recover from the insults, lost jobs and grim moments he had to endure in recent years? How many people went, or are going, through the same as Depp without receiving, at least, a fair sentence?

However, the ending for this series is heartwarming. While Johnny Depp celebrates that “six years later, the Jury gave me my life back,” affirming that “the truth never perishes,” the other side plays the pitiful role of trying to sell the sentence as a defeat for the feminist collective.

But these are empty words, because while Depp receives the affection of the public in his great victory, Heard must limit the comments on her social networks in order not to receive the criticism she so richly deserves. The truth was exposed and her reputation has certainly perished.

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