They are not like us
Deppw. Heard: Judgment no one could escape over. The talk of abuse, domestic violence and the #MeToo it has sparked will continue. But let’s not make millions move around two celebrities.
From all sides, the trial of Johnny Depp and Amber Heard was a spectacle. And thanks to live courtroom cameras — a rarity in domestic violence trials — every look and gesture could be linked, captioned, and shared across all corners of social media. Which domestic violence organizations warn could have a “chilling effect” on survivors.
Let’s talk about it…
We don’t need to tell you that Hurd has been criticized on social media. A staggering level of hatred for the actress from men’s rights “activists” and Depp’s fans has flooded TikTok, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter for weeks. And the virality was relentless. The trial of Depp and Heard seemed to have ended largely in Depp’s favor. While the jury found defamation on both sides, Depp was awarded more money. However, some experts have identified inconsistencies in the verdict, and Hurd plans to appeal. Whatever happens, the damage has already been done.
Reminder: Depp and Heard’s trial was a pair of defamation lawsuits. This was not a domestic violence case. But according to experts, retaliation — even just the threat of it — has long been part of the textbook in the textbooks of abusers. Defenders now fear that after watching the trial of Depp and Heard, abuse victims will be even more afraid to come forward in public. Not only because they may not be believed. But because they are afraid of being ridiculed, humiliated and vilified. Even sued. Especially if similar high-profile defamation cases keep moving forward. See: Marilyn Manson sues Evan Rachel Wood. And Dave Portnoy is suing Insider.
You said it. Some fear that Depp and Heard’s trial could set a dangerous precedent for defamation cases. But others say that survivors shouldn’t be deterred from telling the truth (or reporting it to the authorities) because of one sensational celebrity case. In legal terms, defamation is defined as a person knowingly publishing or spreading lies about someone else with the intent to damage their reputation (including social media). Although in fact, even when the allegations are true, the alleged abuser can still drag you to court. This is just another tool that attackers can use. But survivors can also sue offenders if they are accused of making it up.
The staggering fact is that one in three women and one in four men in the US experience domestic violence. These numbers are almost certainly higher, as the Department of Justice estimates that nearly half of all incidents may go unreported. Remember: there are resources and laws to protect survivors. And the speech movement has gone too far to start taking steps back.
PS: If you or someone you know needs help, call the National…