Actor Johnny Depp brought a defamation case against his former wife, actress Amber Heard, after she made domestic abuse allegations in a 2018 piece for the Washington Post. Most everyone, right and left, following the trial believed Depp and considered Heard a liar, an opinion supported by the jury verdict in Depp's favor -- that Heard libeled him with "actual malice." It’s left the liberals at the New York Times discombobulated, disturbed that the wrong verdict was reached.
Movie critic (yes) A.O. Scott gave the verdict zero stars in Saturday’s paper. A.O. Scott’s one-word summary: Misogyny! “Johnny Depp-Amber Heard Verdict: The Actual Malice of the Trial.”
The Johnny Depp-Amber Heard defamation trial was, from gavel to gavel, a singularly baffling, unedifying and sad spectacle. Now that it has ended with the jury finding in favor of Depp on all questions and in favor of Heard on only one, it’s clear that the confusion was the point.
Scott suggested the trial process muddied the simple, true narrative of Depp the abusive husband.
Even before the verdict came in, Depp had already won. What had looked to many like a clear-cut case of domestic violence had devolved into a “both sides” melodrama….
Scott disingenuously insisted he didn’t mean we should always believe all women, but basically, yes, we should believe all women, especially when it’s only a man’s reputation at stake.
We should know by now that the symmetry implied by that phrase is an ideological fiction, that women who are victims of domestic violence and sexual assault have a much harder time being listened to than their assailants. I don’t mean that women always tell the truth, that men are always guilty as charged, or that due process isn’t the bedrock of justice. But Depp-Heard wasn’t a criminal trial; it was a civil action intended to measure the reputational harm each one claimed the other had done. Which means that it rested less on facts than on sympathies.
And why did the TV audience favor Depp? One guess.
Because he’s a man. Celebrity and masculinity confer mutually reinforcing advantages….
Scott lamented the backlash against “cancel culture” now meant that “Creeps are treated as martyrs, and every loudmouth is a free-speech warrior….” In Scott's deranged view, this wasn't just one trial verdict, but proof that "Misogyny isn’t the subtext of American political rage and social dysfunction; all too often, it’s the plain text…."
Columnist Michelle Goldberg also was bitterly traumatized by a verdict that didn’t go the way she wished: “The Amber Heard Verdict Was a Travesty. Others Will Follow.”
The verdict in Johnny Depp’s defamation lawsuit against his ex-wife Amber Heard is difficult to explain logically.
….The explosion of defiant, desperate feminist energy that was #MeToo has now been smothered by an even fiercer reaction. #MeToo was a movement of women telling their stories. Now that Heard has been destroyed for identifying as a survivor, other women will think twice.
But would it have been alright if Heard lied under oath? This bizarre paragraph implied that.
….Even if Heard lied about everything during the trial -- even if she’d never suffered domestic abuse -- she still would have represented it. But if the police call wasn’t part of a hoax, then it’s hard to see how Heard hadn’t suffered as well.
Not a word of Heard’s bizarre claim that Depp pushed former girlfriend-model Kate Moss pushed down the stairs, refuted by Moss herself, or the mulitple contradictions Heard committed on the witness stand.
Goldberg came clean about the root of her distress: The verdict is making sexist conservatives happy.
….much of the conservative movement, which has cheered Depp, a man who once joked about assassinating Trump, for slaying the #MeToo gorgon….If there’s one thing they hate more than decadent Hollywood elites, it’s mouthy women.