By Aiden Holczer
There are very few things in this world that get my blood boiling more than false allegations. Concocting stories about rape or domestic abuse in order to ruin another person’s life is as low as a person can go in my mind. Not only is this behavior disgusting and destructive, but it invalidates the stories of brave survivors of domestic abuse, rape, and other trumatic experience.
Naturally, when news broke about Johnny Depp losing his court case against The Sun, I was disgusted. However, as sad as it may seem, I wasn’t shocked. Much in the same way I’m not surprised when cops are found not guilty for the murder of innocent African Americans. The truth is, the media and the court system only care about domestic abuse when it pertains to male on female violence, not the other way around.
Depp and his ex-wife Amber Heard were married for a little over a year before Heard filed for a temporary restraining order against Depp after he allegedly physically abused her under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. Depp emphatically denied the allegations, and eventually the two came to a settlement agreement before finalizing their divorce. The most notable part of this settlement was the non-disparagement agreement both Depp and Heard agreed to sign, with the purpose of preventing both parties from slandering the other.
This didn’t last long, and in 2017, only a year after their divorce, Heard branded herself as a “public figure in domestic abuse cases” in an op-ed with the Washington Post. Although Depp wasn’t specifically named, the target of the op-ed was clear, and Depp responded by suing Heard for $50 million in damages for defamation. Depp’s legal team denied any and all instances of abuse by Depp and asserted that Heard’s allegations were part of an “elaborate hoax to generate positive publicity” for the Texas-born actress. Heard responded by detailing multiple alleged instances of abuse where she referred to Depp as “the Monster.” This case is still ongoing within the U.S.
However, in January of 2020, a bombshell of evidence in Depp’s favor was released by The Daily Mail, who had obtained phone recordings of Heard admitting to “hitting” Depp. The actress is heard saying: “I’m sorry that I didn’t … hit you across the face in a proper slap, but I was hitting you, it was not punching you. Babe, you’re not punched.” Apparently, the difference between “hitting” Depp and “punching” him is extremely important to Heard; it’s as if in her mind one is significantly worse than the other. She continued to press this point, stating that: “I don’t know what the motion of my actual hand was, but you’re fine, I did not hurt you, I did not punch you, I was hitting you.”
This should’ve been the proverbial nail in the coffin in Depp’s next lawsuit against The Sun who branded him as a “wife beater” in one of their articles. However, the court systems in the UK are as ripe with injustice as the ones in the U.S, and in the face of a mountain of evidence against Amber Heard, the judge ruled that The Sun was right in their characterization of Depp as a “wife beater” before going on to praise his ex-wife for speaking out against domestic abuse.
I would like you to imagine for one moment if a famous actor struck their wife and said “your okay babe, it was just a slap not a punch, your fine…” they would be crucified by the media at large and effectively blacklisted from Hollywood for the rest of their life, and rightly so. Yet, Amber Heard was offered to continue playing her role as Mera in the upcoming sequel to the 2018 blockbuster Aquaman, after openly admitting to striking her husband. What happened to Johnny Depp you may ask? Well, he was asked by Warner Brothers to step down from his role as Grindelwald in the Fantastic Beasts series.
It may be uncomfortable to say this in the era of the MeToo movement and female empowerment, but it has to be said that the only reason Amber Heard still has her role in Aquaman while Johnny Depp lost his role in the Fantastic Beasts series is because she’s a woman, and after all these years, we still view female on male domestic violence as a sign of weakness on the behalf of the male victim. It’s sad and ironic that the same media that has preached for years about how women can do anything physically that men can, then goes on to assert that female on male domestic violence is relatively harmless because women on average “don’t hit as hard as men.” It’s either this or they choose to ignore the problem completely. Equality, amiright?
If you want to help solve this problem, I suggest you go sign the Change.org petition to remove Amber Heard from the upcoming Aquaman sequel. At the time of this being posted, the petition is set to surpass well over one million signatures.