Why do so many people think Amber Heard is lying?

Amber Heard and Johnny Depp are back in court in Fairfax County, Virginia.
Photo: Elisabeth Franz/Paul/AFP via Getty Images

Last week, Amber Heard took a stand in the ongoing libel trial. In testimony about her marriage to Johnny Depp, she detailed years of alleged abuse. “I will kill you,” Heard said, recalling one of the altercations, which she says ended with Depp pinning her on the worktop and repeatedly penetrating her with a bottle of alcohol. When Heard sobbed on the platform, the mood in the courtroom prevailed. Even Depp looked grim as he lifted his eyes from his notebook his notes to watch.

His fans were unimpressed. “Drama Queen” and “Crocodile tears Let’s goooo” viewers commented on a popular YouTube broadcaster in a live chat. “She likes to talk about herself, doesn’t she?” “Wow that’s one piece of work,” “We don’t care,” “What an actress.” Shortly after the court adjourned for the day, a clip of Heard wiping her nose with a tissue began circulating on social media; Depp Stans speculated that she might have been making a hidden Coke bump in front of a jury.

Over the past four weeks, Heard and Depp have presented a shocking picture of their short and turbulent marriage. The testimonies on both sides were painful and difficult: Heard’s lawyers hammered Depp for hours on drug use, while his witnesses made questionable allegations about Heard’s alleged “hysterical personality disorder.” Her team featured photos of her bruised face, broken lip, and clumps of her hair on the floor of the couple’s smashed bedroom. Depp admitted to painting threatening messages on their walls with his own blood, while text messages show that he is apologizing for “spraying anger” on them in blackout, plus he hopes “Heard’s rotting corpse is decomposing in the trunk of the damned Honda Civic.”

No matter how incriminating the evidence in court, social media tells a different story: Instagram and TikTok are filled with memes depicting Depp as the victim and Heard as the abuser, bent on making money that would ruin her former career. Nearly five years after the serial predation of Harvey Weinstein was exposed, he exposed the ways powerful men use their influence to cover up misconduct, deep Fifth. he heard Seems like a stark decline. Here is a woman who recounts, in haunting detail, how a very famous man abused her. Why, in 2022, so many people seem to hate her for that?

The case centers around Heard’s 2018 Washington mail An editorial, identifying herself as a “public figure representing domestic violence” but never mentioning Depp by name. At the time, Depp was fighting a legal battle with the United Kingdom Sun Because he called him a “wife beater,” a lawsuit he’d lose. However, Deep Heard was hit with a $50 million defamation lawsuit, arguing that her “obviously false” allegations “did new damage” to his reputation and career. After a judge denied Heard’s motion to dismiss the opening case, she opposed the $100 million.

Their new trial opened last month, and every minute of it was televised. Every morning, when the court sits, hundreds of thousands of viewers stream live on the Law & Crime Network and courthouse TV channels on YouTube. Crowds of Depp’s supporters gather outside Fairfax County Courthouse, and when the proceedings are over, they push his car Gifts are crammed through the open window. His fame creates an aura of tangible excitement: “Captain Jack Sparrow is in the courtroom today,” a CourtTV presenter spoke during Depp’s testimony. Who doesn’t love Captain Jack Sparrow? Popcorn emojis appear in chat bars sticky to YouTube streams, which reliably turn into barbs. “Millions of women would be killed in order to have Johnny.” “She’s just a goldenking activist. I too found an opportunity to advance her career and destroy a Hollywood icon at the same time.”

The anti-hearing sentiment quickly spread beyond the comments section, resulting in an entire rating of memes praising Depp. His pictures are engraved in the witness box with his inspirational quotes (“Johnny Depp once said, People do not cry because they are weak but because they have been strong for too long. Everyone has a breaking point. ’) My Instagram page “Explore” was suddenly sprinkled with photos of Depp in his prime: much younger versions of the actor kissing Winona Ryder and Kate Moss or holding baby girl Lily-Rose Depp in sepia. When Heard’s face pops up, it’s next to captions like, “You can see the moment you remember it was meant to be sad.” After Depp claimed Heard had peed in bed when he left her, “Amber Turd” and “#MePoo” went viral on Twitter for several days. (According to Depp, She blamed the accident on the husbands’ dogs).

For her part, Heard never claimed that she acted perfectly in their relationship. In the recordings being played in court, she appears to sometimes mock and belittle Depp: “Tell the world, Johnny,” she told him in 2016. “Tell them, ‘I, Johnny Depp, is a man who is also a victim of domestic violence.'” On the stage, Heard admitted yelling at Depp, calling him “ugly names” and hitting him. Depp’s fans point to her 2009 arrest, which followed an argument with ex-girlfriend Tasya Van Ree, to suggest that Heard had a history of brutalizing her partners; Meanwhile, Van Ree has already stated that the police “distorted” the incident to accuse Heard “unlawfully”. (One person the court has not heard from: Eileen Parkin, who testified that Depp once threw a bottle of wine at her when the couple briefly dated. At his UK trial, Depp said Parkin was motivated by a ” grudge” because he did not return her feelings. )

Witnesses described Deep Heard as demanding and capricious, and a marriage counselor who worked with the couple testified that they engaged in “mutual abuse”. This is not a term domestic violence experts like to use because it ignores the unequal power and bullying inherent in intimate partner violence. “Self-defense” is considered more accurate, and in her testimony, Heard identified a cycle in which Depp’s jealousy, ignited by alleged gaps in sobriety, provoked explosive controversies. She said he tried to dissuade her from taking on acting jobs, reassuring her, “You don’t have to work, boy. I’ll take care of you,” and criticized her for seeing roles that required sex scenes and kissing. In the end, she said he got the wardrobe’s approval. In Heard’s novel, Depp’s substance addiction divided him into two people: an affectionate and generous partner when he was sober and a violent and irrational “monster” when he was not. “I was going to try to defend myself,” she told the court. “By December 2014, I will resist.” When Deep Heard fans are accused of exploiting the actor’s wealth and prestige, they tacitly admit there is an imbalance of power. Both are actors, but one is more accomplished, more praised, and more influential. One of them was nominated for three Academy Awards. One of them is a household name, and the other is the most famous in the context of this legal battle.

Depp’s fans also have a disturbing ability to take Heard’s evidence and turn it against her. A video of a drunken frenzy – a video of Depp smashing glasses and emptying a bottle of wine – has become evidence of Heard’s manipulative ability. They question her motives: Why was she recording it in the first place? Then there are the text messages Depp sent to his friend, actor Paul Bettany in 2013, musing about drowning Heard and setting her on fire. In a live chat on Court TV, a moderator admitted that the texts actually sounded bad, but: “I actually married him.” If victim-blaming is such a resentment these days, you wouldn’t know it by looking at the way people talk about Heard online. Even cosmetics company Milani Cosmetics took part in the event, with TikTok publishing a false claim made in editorial statements that Heard relied on concealer kits like theirs to cover her bruises. Ireland Baldwin wrote on Instagram: “The thing is, I know women exactly like that. They are manipulative and cold and use their femininity to play the victim and turn the world against the man because we live in a society where it’s cool to say that all men are at their worst.”

False allegations of domestic violence are extremely rare. If we take this trial as an example, you can see why: The legal process elicits relentless grief, and it certainly isn’t likely for survivors. If you resist, you are often framed as complicit in the abuse. However, the idea of ​​women making up terrible stories to entrap innocent men refuses to die. Weinstein’s lawyers considered his accusers to be liars out of fame and money. Bill Cosby has claimed this time and time again. Woody Allen has described his daughter’s harassment allegations as an attempt by his vengeful ex-wife to destroy his career. In the past few years, it has finally seemed as if the public is beginning to believe the victims. But in all appearances, Depp continues to enjoy the benefit of the doubt even as he reads texts in which he refers to Heard as a “slippery whore.”

Depp’s central complaint in the case says that Heard’s editorial left his reputation in tatters, a claim that is at odds with the throngs of fans who have rallied around him in court and on the Internet. While his career has been on a downward spiral for a while now, Heard’s lawyers note that bad press — accusing Depp of getting drunk during filming and highlighting a string of expensive box office films for which he earned a hefty salary — began years before Heard sued. divorce. Depp denies his addiction to drugs and alcohol, and his hard-line reputation still precedes him. It seems to be a mood. He was accused of hitting a crew member on the set of a movie without provocation. It has become aggressive. For some industry executives, Depp’s British suit of defamation put the final nail in the coffin of the self-made professional.

On my “Explore” Instagram page, nostalgia for a specific version of this guy – implausibly sexy, widely respected as one of Hollywood’s most talented actors – seems to have overshadowed reality. However, the enthusiasm of his fans confirms at least some of what Heard says: Depp is so famous, so likable, he can get away with just about anything. “No one told him” about his alleged drug use and behavior problems, Heard said on the stage. “This guy lost control of his gut, and I was cleaning up after him…Then he would walk around thinking he had no problem.” At his Virginia trial, lawyers spent hours sifting through his sinister texts, retaliatory emails and grueling testimony. Then he arose, and the doors of the court were opened, the crowd still unruly.

In her editorial, Heard writes that after Depp’s divorce, she “felt the full force of our culture’s anger toward women who speak up.” As this trial made clear, she wasn’t lying about it. Even after so many women have provided accounts of abuse in recent years, Heard’s trial is a sobering reminder that the victim’s credibility remains fragile. It doesn’t matter what you say when no one wants to hear it. I think of post-trial survivors from home: If this is the response a person can expect from having their claims presented in court, why raise their voice at all?

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