Flat White

Depp wins the #MeToo gender wars

13 June 2022

12:00 PM

13 June 2022

12:00 PM

After seven weeks of chaos, a verdict was finally delivered in the defamation trial brought by Johnny Depp against ex-wife Amber Heard.

Justice was served, with the jury finding Heard had defamed Depp in all three statements.

They awarded Depp $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages, combining to $15 million. Judge Penney S. Azcarate altered the punitive damages to the statutory cap of $350,000. In addition, the jury found Heard was defamed by Depp through lawyer Adam Waldman, awarding her $2 million in compensatory damages.

In total, Depp is set to walk away with $8.35 million.

But more important to Johnny Depp was always the prospect of winning back his reputation, and that is exactly what he and his magnificent team of lawyers have done.

While Heard’s career is likely over, Depp begins a new chapter. His statement posted to his social media accounts after the verdict said it all:

‘The jury gave me my life back. I am truly humbled.’

Truth won out, but the #MeToo movement has decided to double-down on a new set of victimhood narratives popularised by Amber Heard.

In the aftermath of the verdict, Heard has found a way to re-establish herself as the victim. Like Johnny, she released a statement, but hers was far less gracious. Within it, she set the narrative that would now be run by her PR team and those supporting her:

‘I’m heartbroken that the mountain of evidence still was not enough to stand up to the disproportionate power, influence, and way of my ex-husband. I’m even more disappointed with what this verdict means for other women. It is a setback. It sets back the clock to a time when a woman who spoke up and spoke out could be publicly shamed and humiliated. It sets back the idea that violence against women is to be taken seriously.’

Her statement is nonsense.

It didn’t take long for the (diminishing) Heard support mob to plaster the story all over the place. There were articles published in the Guardian, the New York Times, and several other outlets pointing to how this was trial represented a loss for women and how the verdict set a dangerous precedent.

A magazine entitled The Root published a particularly bizarre take with a piece entitled Amber Heard verdict sends a message to black women everywhere. Only the Wokest of publications could make the verdict about race when both parties were white…

This absurd narrative connecting the plight of women to Heard has not been restricted to online publications and social media posts. Heard’s lawyer, Elaine Bredehoft, decided to start doing interviews on morning TV shows.

Bredehoft appeared on CBS Mornings, where she labelled the verdict as ‘a major setback for women, for women inside the courtroom and outside the courtroom’. If she had cared to take a look at the women inside the courtroom, she would have found most of them were supportive of Johnny Depp and his position as the real victim. The same goes for the women outside the courtroom.

Regardless, it appears the new Heard PR team is determined to spin the verdict as some sort of legal regression and a miscarriage of justice for women everywhere.

It is typical of the #MeToo movement, who have used the line ‘Believe All Women’ as part of their campaign for years. If anything, they are reeling from the verdict of this case because it represents a huge blow to the politicisation of domestic and sexual violence. They have made it all about gender, and now that narrative is fast evaporating under the weight of legally established facts.

The notion that domestic and sexual violence is purely a gendered issue is extremely ignorant. Women are not the only victims of such forms of violence. If this case has shown the world anything, it is that men can also be victims of domestic violence too.

Telling people to ‘believe all women’ implies that all women who make claims of domestic and sexual violence against men are being truthful. It also implies that we should believe them without evidence to support their claims. This is a perversion of the justice system. It would mean any woman could make a claim of domestic or sexual violence against someone merely out of hatred or spite, and ruin that individual’s life. It results in a world where everyone is guilty until proven innocent. And what happens when two women make contradictory claims against each other?

Johnny Depp was a victim of the #MeToo demand for unquestioned belief in women and it cannot be permitted to occur again. We have witnessed a very public trial that was brought by Depp to prove his innocence. In order to do so, he had to bare his soul to the world and allow us to see and hear aspects of his private life that no one would want anyone to know about.

As he wrote in his statement:

‘My decision to pursue this case, knowing very well the height of the legal hurdles that I would be facing and the inevitable, worldwide spectacle into my life, was only made after considerable thought.’

He continued:

‘From the very beginning, the goal of bringing this case was to reveal the truth, regardless of the outcome. Speaking the truth was something that I owed to my children and to all those who have remained steadfast in their support of me.’

No one should have to bring a case such as this where their private life becomes a public spectacle just to prove their innocence. 

Those who assumed guilt and punished Depp for it should be ashamed of themselves. I’m looking at you, Disney and Warner Bros.

Johnny Depp is owed a public apology from those who condemned him without evidence him for something he has now demonstrated in a court of law to be false. In the process, we almost lost a magnificent actor.

While Heard and her supporters will do all they can to make this about gender, we must ensure the trial remains grounded in truth.

This verdict is not about gender. It is not about whether the victim was a man or a woman. It is about justice. It is about truth…

As we see the end of this case, one cannot help but recall that famous line from Pirates of the Caribbean uttered by Depp’s character, Captain Jack Sparrow:

‘You will always remember this as the day you almost caught Captain Jack Sparrow.’

In this case, Amber Heard and her team will always remember the day of the verdict as the day they almost caught Johnny Depp in their social justice web.

And so, in the spirit of truth and justice, I would like to allow Johnny Depp to conclude this piece with the final words from his statement:

Veritas numquam perit.

Truth never perishes. 

Joel Agius is an independent writer. If you would like to read more of his work, you can do so at JJ’s Outlook or check out his new podcast The Agius Hour.

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