Depp vs Heard: Depp wins his pursuit of truth in the times of cancel culture
In what seems to be the trial of the decade, Johnny Depp vs Amber Heard has been plastered across all social platforms, tabloids and news outlets for the past few weeks. A civil rights case for domestic abuse, where many thought that the "victim" would prevail and the "big bad wolf" would be defeated, as common understanding dictated that "only the stronger, bigger and privileged one can do such harm."
The verdict has finally brought truth to light. After six weeks of testimonies the jury unanimously rewarded damages to both parties — against Heard for defaming Depp, and against Depp's ex lawyer for calling Heard's allegation a hoax. In effect, both were found culpable to a degree of defaming each other. They awarded Depp $15 million in damages from Heard, and awarded Heard $2 million from Depp.
To the casual observer this looks like a win-win for both parties, but this is a sweeping victory for Johnny Depp in the public's opinion, because he has finally managed to prove with convincing evidence that he was indeed the victim of abuse, rather than the perpetrator, as opposed to what Heard claimed all those years ago.
This case is hope to many others in similar situations where they are painted as the perpetrators based solely on their gender or race and not on facts. This is also a showcase of why current social media's approach of 'guilty until proven innocent' is so dangerous and wrong.
For those living under a rock, this all began when Heard filed for divorce from Depp and gained a restraining order against him on grounds of physical abuse. The moment the news became public, Depp's reputation in the industry suffered greatly and he ended up being cut from multiple mega popular projects.
Depp's suit was centered on an opinion piece that Heard wrote in the Washington Post back in December 2018, where she claimed that she was a domestic abuse victim. She wrote, "I became a public figure representing domestic abuse, and I felt the full force of our culture's wrath for women who speak out." Although the article did not explicitly mention Depp's name, it was implicit in her writeup as to who she referred, and thus widely believed that the accusations were directed Depp.
Depp filed a defamation case against Heard claiming she had lied about his actions, and that her claims were part of an elaborate hoax to boost Heard's public image. The trial kicked off on 11 April, 2022.
In this trial Depp's legal team produced evidence that presented a very different image, pertaining to what actually happened, including one piece of damning evidence in which Heard was identified as saying, "Tell the world, Johnny, tell them, Johnny Depp, I, Johnny Depp, a man, I'm a victim too of domestic violence," before going on to challenge him to, "see how many people believe or side with you." There were also multiple recordings where she admitted to hitting Depp.
After winning the case, Johnny released a statement, "I hope that my quest to have the truth be told will have helped others, men or women, who have found themselves in my situation, and that those supporting them never give up. I also hope that the position will now return to innocent until proven guilty, both within the courts and in the media."
He ended his reaction thus—
Veritas nunquam perit.
"Truth never perishes."