Sunday, June 26, 2022

The mainstream media is flocking to Amber Heard as the internet tide spills over to Johnny Depp

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Major media outlets have refused to legitimize nearly all of the alleged discrepancies found by sleuths investigating Heard’s claims

As Johnny Depp’s lawyers completed cross-examination of Amber Heard in week five of the defamation trial, media coverage seemed skewed in favor of the actress, while the internet overwhelmingly supported her ex-husband.

There’s no denying that the mainstream media has fiddled considerably in its treatment of Heard’s allegations against Depp. However, as social media continues to gather evidence in Depp’s favour, the media has unabashedly doubled down on Team Heard. Major outlets have refused to legitimize almost all of the alleged discrepancies found by sleuths investigating Heard’s claims.

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Of course, not everything on the internet can be taken for true. Despite London’s High Court finding allegations that Depp was a “woman-beater” to be “essentially true,” social media has largely taken Depp’s side, broadcasting hashtags like #JusticeForJohnnyDepp and #AmberTurd, which have trended heavily in recent weeks lay. But while all allegations made in court must be scrutinized before a verdict is reached, the media seems to have skipped the gun in an effort to present Heard in a favorable light.

Vogue columnist Raven Smith wrote an op-ed titled “Why It’s Time to Believe Amber Heard,” calling the anti-Heard sentiment online “downright misogyny.” In a CNN article titled “Opinion: The Trolling of Amber Heard Sends a Dangerous Message to Women,” author Jill Filipovic explained that Depp and Heard clearly had “a complicated relationship that was fueled by legions of Depp superfans who… seem to do, depicted in black and white, has been finding greater purpose in life in standing up for Captain Jack Sparrow’s honor – and slandering the woman who dared accuse him of wrongdoing. She further accused Depp fans of “happily participating in misogynist abuse on the internet”.

Claire Lamps of The Cut posited in the title of her op-ed, “Which women do we choose to believe? Amber Heard claims an extremely famous man abused her for years. Why do you hate so many people for it?’ She further accused Depp’s fans of having “an unsettling ability to take the evidence Heard presents and turn it against them.” The New York Post’s Maureen Callahan criticized Depp’s “grin” during Heard’s testimony in an op-ed piece entitled “The Unfair Denigration of Amber Heard.” And Guardian columnist Gaby Hinsliff wrote an essay entitled It’s Harmful and Degrading: How Amber Heard’s Haters Undermine Victims of Domestic Violence.

It’s imperative not to paint all of Depp’s fans with a broad brush and assume they’re wrong. The advent of social media has brought, if anything, more transparency and accountability when dealing with complex cases. There’s no doubt that some hardcore opposition fans won’t believe a word of it, but that doesn’t mean the majority of the claims circulating around the internet are unfounded. In fact, there are legitimate concerns about Heard’s testimony after she appeared to have changed her statements during the trial.

Depp’s attorney, Camille Vasquez, challenged Heard’s testimony during cross-examination on Tuesday, May 17. The ‘Never Back Down’ actress has been accused of staging a photo of cocaine on a breakfast table while being grilled for her claims of alleged sexual and physical assault incidents. The defendant was also questioned about a lack of charitable donations, which she had pledged as part of her divorce settlement with Depp. Meanwhile, the court was shown footage of actor James Franco visiting her penthouse the night before she filed for divorce from her husband.

Depp’s first violent act against Heard, according to her earlier statement, happened in early 2012. However, in her most recent statement, she said that Depp started hitting her “around early 2013”. She said she gave an incorrect date for Depp’s first aggressive attack. Heard added that the police came to her home several times during their relationship and that they reviewed her therapist files to see if there had been any instances of physical abuse. When asked why she doesn’t remember those specific episodes, she explained that their relationship was “violent” and “chaotic,” as well as “loving” and “emotional,” and that the “violence was almost normal.”

While Depp may have emerged victorious in the court of public opinion, it’s ultimately up to the jury to decide whose testimony in court was more credible.

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