So, the jury is out and the verdict is final. These past six weeks have been absolutely surreal. One must note, Hollywood stars have all but lost that faint halo floating about their superior heads.
With Amber Heard and Johnny Depp both taking the stand, we got further insight into the depravity that comes with wealth, fame and success.
Moreover, the global audience was afforded an opportunity to witness first-hand the mechanics of a toxic relationship. This trial was as brutal as it was hilarious.
“They are mocking me…mocking my testimony,” noted Amber Heard on stand last week
The viral moments and memes garnered from; the testimonies; the horrific allegations; the alcohol and substance abuse; the manipulation; the competencies or lack thereof displayed by the respective attorneys are enough to entertain even the indifferent.
However, at the core of this trial – what lends the entire proceedings some cultural relevance – is the exposure to the secret life of male victims. Domestic abuse is prevalent the world over, with countless victims (predominantly female) living through sheer terror, afraid for their physical, emotional, mental and sexual wellbeing.
Unfortunately, it is one of those common occurrences that leave eternal scars, both internal and external. For many survivors, the ordeal, having lived through it, lingers in their minds and the trauma takes time, practice and patience to overcome.
So it is telling that the overwhelming sentiment from survivors of abuse are condemnatory towards Ms. Heard.
Amber Heard’s allegations were very serious, with implications that she seemed too short-sighted to fathom. The jury, and the world it seems, has deemed her statements defamatory. She was proven guilty by a jury of her peers despite her best attempts to convince them otherwise.
One can only speculate as to the extent of her lies, or truth, though it is clear that the time has come to address these dynamics too when confronting domestic violence.
Depp was awarded accumulative to $15 million whilst Heard’s countersuit for defamation was found to have merit to. Her compensation was set at $2 Million. If anything, it seems to be more of a technicality than anything else that Amber Heard was awarded compensatory damages.
Her minor consolation does not speak to her allegations of sexual and physical abuse at the hands of Johnny Depp. More so, the $2 Million relates to statements made by Depp’s then-attorney, Adam Waldman in 2020, in which he accused Heard and her friends of conspiracy, labelling it a ‘hoax.’
Waldman went on to state that “Quite simply this was an ambush, a hoax. They set Mr. Depp up by calling the cops, but the first attempt didn’t do the trick. The officers came to the penthouses, thoroughly searched and interviewed, and left after seeing no damage to face or property. So Amber and her friends spilled a little wine and roughed the place up, got their stories straight under the direction of a lawyer and publicist, and then placed a second call to 911.”
It was the implication of fabricating evidence that was deemed defamatory – as it could not be proved in a court of law. Despite Depp not making the statements himself, his lawyer was judged to have been speaking on his behalf. Amber Heard responded to the verdict, “It sets back the idea that violence against women is to be taken seriously.”
The actress will now have to regroup, having taken a public lashing as a result of this trial. The Pirates of the Caribbean star, on the other hand, will find comfort in having placed his ex-wife on the stand – which might just be what he wanted all along. For six years, he has been called abusive and a rapist. Those allegations were broadcast to the whole world from the horse’s mouth.
At last, the nightmare for Mr. Depp seems to be subsiding, with the court and public opinion on his side. “Veritas Numquam Perit – Truth Never Perishes,” quipped Johnny Depp following the verdict. Heard’s legal team has vowed to appeal the decision, but it seems all but settled now.