I am a feminist, and I support Johnny Depp
“Tell the world, Johnny. Tell them, I, Johnny Depp, a man, I am too a victim of domestic violence and see how many people believe or side with you.’’ I have never been a fan of Johnny Depp, at least not a big one. Six years ago, when he was accused of domestic violence toward Amber Heard, I was not at all surprised. He is a man with great power, money and authority.
Johnny Depp – Amber Heard Trial
The allegations were odd but very much believable. Afterwards, I never paid attention to anything happening around him. Until the trial. Until he sat on the stand. Until I heard the above words coming out of Amber’s mouth on a recording. Frustration is the word that best describes my reaction. Frustration, first of all, because I was blinded by the media. Second of all, it hurt me to know that this man has lost his life and tried continuously for six years to get it back.
When Amber Heard got on the stand it was over. Her testimony was far from believable, not only to me but to the majority of people watching the trial and most importantly, to the jury. She told hideous, outrageous stories of Johnny Depp raping her with a bottle, hitting her multiple times in the face on multiple occasions, wiping the floor with her, kicking her, spitting on her and the list goes on. Impossible.
It is as simple as that. Her evidence, the mountain of evidence, as Amber Heard put it, was simply non-existent. Her team provided evidence that Johnny Depp was taking drugs, using alcohol and sleeping a lot. They provided messages that contained very strong language from his side, but they were not able to prove he had physically abused her.
Each time they were cross-examining Johnny’s witnesses, Amber’s lawyers pulled out the card of him using drugs and alcohol. But, if one is a drug addict or an alcoholic, it doesn’t make him an abuser. As Johnny Depp said: “The only person I have ever abused in my life, is myself.” One cannot be raped with a bottle, hit on the face multiple times and then fly home the next day without any visible injuries or reporting any injuries to a doctor.
Let me clarify. We are talking about rape with a broken glass bottle. This is just a part of all the colourful stories we heard from Amber Heard on the stand. As Camille Vasquez, part of Johnny’s legal team puts it: “Either she’s a victim of truly horrific abuse or a woman who is willing to say absolutely anything. It is disturbing to think Miss Heard would make up the horrific tales of abuse she testified to in this courtroom. It was an act of profound cruelty, not just to Mr Depp but to true survivors of domestic violence.”
“I didn’t punch you, I hit you. I was hitting you, you are not punched, babe. You’re such a baby, Johnny. Grow the f’ck up.” Those were Amber’s words to Johnny Depp. Now, imagine for a second if it was the opposite way around. Imagine a man saying to a woman “I didn’t punch you, I was hitting you.” Are you going to side with him? Are you going to say this trial was an orgy of misogyny? Didn’t think so. We saw and heard a version of Heard not heard or seen before.
The Amber on the recordings was vile, angry, malicious – something you cannot misinterpret, something you cannot find an excuse for. We saw as some said, her best acting performance on the stand, and probably her last. We saw not one witness admitting to being physically abused by Amber. Johnny’s team presented the jury with a never-ending display of inconsistencies by Amber.
On cross-examination, she was caught lying not once, desperately trying to make her story fit in the jurors’ minds. Her constant staring at them, as if she was waiting for a sign that they believed her lies, certainly did not help her accountability. Her constant staring at Johnny did not help either.
Do you believe, that if you have been abused physically and sexually for so many years, you will have the power to stare at your abuser every single day for six weeks? Her attitude throughout the whole trial did not fit in the picture. And everybody saw that.
The verdict was delivered with the seven-person jury siding with Johnny, awarding him $15 million in damages. In the eyes of public opinion, he has already won, but the mainstream media in particular was divisive.
Setback for women?
It might be surprising for some, but the #MeToo movement is not about believing in all women. It is about believing women, who were in fact, victims of domestic violence. Certainly, women who claim abuse should not be disregarded.
The idea behind the #MeToo movement is to give women a voice. However, freedom of speech is not obsolete. And allegations can be false. Today, after the #MeToo movement and the birth of cancel culture, such allegations, especially towards men, can ruin their life and career. And Amber knew that. And she used that as an advantage to ruin Johnny’s life because he left her. And she succeeded.
Apart from that, there is an issue, one that has always existed – believing that men can be abused by women. There is a misconception this is a quite rare occasion, however, a survey by CDC shows 1 in 3 men experience sexual or physical violence by their female partner. This research doesn’t indicate rarity. And we, as a society, need to recognise this. That men and women, both, can be abused and they both have the right to seek justice.
Amber came out with a statement after the verdict saying the verdict “sets back the idea that violence against women is to be taken seriously”. I cannot agree with that. Her allegations of violence were taken extremely seriously. She had two trials and four days of being on the stand to tell her story and the trial itself lasted six weeks. The problem was not that she wasn’t taken seriously, it was that her lies were not believable enough.
This is her mistake, and it does not mean it will follow future accusers. The truth was plain to anyone watching, yet, she couldn’t and wouldn’t own it. There is now and there will be, for sure, more scepticism around the next woman’s claim and Amber Heard has only herself to blame.
She hurt battered women. She hurt the women coming forward. She said she ‘felt the wrath of society’. No. She created wrath that was not there because she tried to ride on the wings of battered women. Her lawyer came out and blamed the cameras in the courtroom, saying the atmosphere it created led to a social media bum, which then influenced the jury.
No. Miss Heard made this public by filing for a restraining order against Johnny Depp in 2016, by leaking information to TMZ, making sure they will photograph her going out of the courtroom, leaking the video of Johnny slamming cabinets, allegedly removing the part at the end where she is laughing at him, and lastly in her Washington Post Op-Ed, calling him an abuser and representing herself as a survivor.
Amber had her day in court, she was listened to and rejected. This trial was a #MeToo, without any #MeToo. No one misses Harvey Weinstein, Les Moonves, Larry Nassar and many others. The MeToo movement did many goods, but it turned into a witch-hunt against men who were disliked for some other reasons. Women deserve a right to be heard and to be listened to, not to be believed at all costs.
Accused men have the same right. And in this trial, both parties got that. This trial was not an orgy of misogyny, it was not an antifeminist backlash, it was not a toxic catastrophe. It was a triumph. The system worked just as it was supposed to.
I am a woman. I am a woman who has grown up in a family where domestic violence was present. And I grew up to become a feminist. And I am a feminist still. I believe in equal rights between men and women. And I despise men who take advantage of their power to abuse women, to belittle them. But none of this means I should support women at all costs.
None of this means I should support lies and manipulations. None of this means I have the right to take advantage of my position as a woman to abuse men. Women can lie. Women can abuse. Women can manipulate. Men can do that too. This is not a fight for superiority. This is a fight for equality. I am grateful that Johnny Depp stood up for himself. I am grateful he fought and that people like Amber Heard don’t get it their way.
Because we all have Amber Heard(s) in our lives: people that lie, manipulate, abuse and push us down, as far as we can go. Johnny Depp stood up for domestic violence victims, for those falsely accused and for the people silenced by corporate media attacks. He showed us men and women both deserve justice. I believe this trial has done much more in favour of our society. It is no longer #believeallwomen, it is #believeallvictims, regardless of gender. It is no longer #metoo, it is #mentoo. And in no way, this opinion makes me an anti-feminist. It makes me human.