If you still wonder why abused women don’t come forward more often, all you have to do is look at the Johnny Depp/Amber Heard defamation trial to understand why.
Not only has the media reveled in the “courtroom drama,” but social media is abuzz with videos, memes, and commentaries mocking and bashing Amber Heard. Amber has been deemed “a liar” and “a psychopath”.
Johnny Depp stans have made it their mission to take Amber down by any means. They manipulate her words and dissect her testimony. Yet, despite what abuse Johnny openly admits to committing, he remains the charming, sweet, lovable victim.
And as the trial continues, celebrities are now feeling emboldened to get in on the fun. Most recently, Lance Bass made a TikTok imitating and mocking Amber’s testimony on the stand (he’s since taken it down). Bethenny Frankel has also taken it upon herself to call Amber “the craziest woman to walk this planet”.
Regardless of the truth (who even knows what that is anymore?), Hollywood has already decided: Johnny is the victim and Amber is the crazy psycho bitch.
There are, however, a few (D-list) celebrities who have come to her defense.
Kathy Griffin wrote a short but supportive message to Amber on Twitter and said,
“Oh, Doll. I’m thinking about you and sending all the love.”
Actor David Krumholtz also defended Amber on Instagram and wrote,
“Amber Heard is a victim of abuse by Johnny Depp. Don’t ya just love his work? Isn’t he handsome? Heard he’s a sweetheart! Captain Jack Sparrow!!!”
“She is not innocent. BUT she is a victim… Drugs and alcohol turn men into monsters. I believe Amber Heard.”
And that’s the real problem here, isn’t it? Amber isn’t the perfect victim. She fought back. And now that’s being used against her.
As psychology experts have explained, what can look like “mutual abuse” is actually just the victim fighting back. And this is giving Johnny Depp all the fodder he needs to make her look like a liar.
Perhaps it was model Julia Fox who explained it best in a recent Instagram comment. She wrote,
“She never had the power in the relationship to be abusive to him. Did she hit him? Yes. Was it abuse? No. You need to have power to be able to abuse it. She was 25. He clearly was always way more powerful including physically and financially.”
Julia is right: abuse is all about power. And the idea that Amber had the power in the relationship, while not impossible, is very unlikely.
Amber and Johnny met in 2009 and started dating in 2011. She was 25 and he was 48. He was at the height of his career and was making at least one blockbuster movie a year with Alice in Wonderland and The Tourist out in 2010 followed by Rango and Pirates of the Caribbean 4 in 2011. Meanwhile, Amber was just starting to make a name for herself with lesser-known films And Soon Darkness and Drive Crazy.
And yet, despite the huge differences in age, physicality, fame, and money, social media still somehow believes that Amber held all the power in the relationship to abuse Johnny. Again, not impossible but certainly unlikely.
Johnny Depp stans already feel empowered to attack Amber Heard on every level. And the approval from celebrities like Lance Bass only gives them further validation.
It’s disappointing, yet understandable, why many celebrities would choose to stay silent on the issue. They don’t want to get caught up in the media storm. And more importantly, at the end of the day, nobody truly knows what goes on behind closed doors between a couple.
But to insert yourself into the situation merely so you can contribute to the vicious hate? That’s when things get truly harmful.
In 10 years, when the true-crime mini-series inevitably comes out about the trial, many will watch with disgust at how the media and the public treated Amber Heard. They’ll wonder how things went downhill so fast when #MeToo and #BelieveAllWomen were only just a few years prior. But some of us won’t need to wonder. We watched the horror in real-time and knew that #MeToo was, sadly, just a blip on the radar.