Johnny Depp trial: Why trial makes it so easy to hate Amber Heard

During the defamation trial Johnny Depp has brought against his ex-wife, the internet has vehemently turned against Amber Heard. There’s an obvious reason why.

In the last few weeks, it has become abundantly clear that Amber Heard is fast becoming one of the most hated women in the world.

Heard’s ex-husband Johnny Depp is currently suing the actress her for around $70 million over a 2018 washington post op-ed in which she wrote about being a victim of domestic abuse. She did not name Depp in the piece, but he claims the allegations are clearly directed at him. He also claims it caused him to be dropped from movies, including the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise.

The media is extensively covering the trial and it’s becoming evident that people just don’t believe her.

It’s pretty clear that neither Depp nor Heard behaved well in this relationship and the details are icky – with neither party coming out unscathed.

Depp’s texts about Heard have been read to the court, in which he has referred to her as a “filthy wh**e”. There are also recordings of Depp calling her a “fat ass” and text messages where he jokes about killing her.

The court also heard about an incident where Depp wrote on a wall with his own blood after part of his finger was severed (he says by Heard throwing a vodka bottle at him, she says he severed the finger himself).

Depp also admitted that he had broken things and been generally destructive during fights with Heard. However, he draws the line at the allegations of abuse.

Meanwhile, there are recordings of Heard where she is clearly taunting Depp calling him “a washed-up actor” and accused him of being a bad father. There have also been testimonies from former employees that, at the very least, paint Heard as not very pleasant. Her ex-assistant tested that Heard spat on her.

It’s indisputable that there’s evidence of both Depp and Heard slinging hurtful insults at each other. Heard by no means is the perfect victim, but that doesn’t automatically mean she’s a liar.

None of this behavior reflects well on either of them. But interestingly, Depp has been given the hero edit, and Heard has been cast as the villain.

Suddenly TikTok is filled with videos supporting Depp, and Reddit threads are dedicated to online sleuths declaring his innocence. There are even TikToks dedicated to praising Dior for standing by Depp during the allegations.

Many people are happily declaring online that they think Heard is a complete liar. In fact, they seem to be enjoying it! You’d think in a post-#MeToo world, people would be less comfortable with actively not believing women, but the internet is thriving as it paints Heard as a villain. However, Depp’s tantrums can be forgiven because she said mean things to him?

It’s a pretty scary rhetoric to enforce, but it’s become the most popular.

Look, I can understand that if you’re consuming content about this trial, it may not have made you warm to Heard. She comes across as mean, demanding, and even power-hungry. But I don’t understand how this trial has somehow managed to make Depp a hero.

At best, he’s a grown man who refers to his wife as a wh**e and has physical tantrums. Is that the stuff of Prince Charming?

I take umbrage with the fact that Depp has somehow been absolved of his poor behavior while Heard is currently the focus of all online hate.

Perhaps we need to acknowledge that we still love to vilify and not trust women as a society. Possibly the dominating belief that Depp did nothing wrong doesn’t stem from the facts that this defamation trial has brought to light, but the misogyny that undercuts our thinking. After all, who doesn’t want to believe a handsome movie star?

In Australia, 80 per cent of women don’t report domestic violence. Perhaps this kind of response on social media is indicative of a bigger problem in society, where the general public still relishes calling a woman a liar.

Mary Madigan is a freelance writer

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