There’s something about the disintegration of the world of celebrities – we are all deeply interested in it and choose the side. Most often it is pure, unadulterated voyeurism. But the recent court battle between obsessed Hollywood star Johnny Depp and his ex-wife, actress Amber Heard, which began as a mere celebrity brawl, has turned into a warning story or even a defining moment if you can call it that.
So far, even in the narrative of the lives of celebrities, we are often accustomed to seeing men as the main culprits. However, in this case, while the details of the Depp-Heard relationship were taken down layer by layer, it was revealed that the Alpha Male is a famous victim – Johnny Depp.
Playing Russian roulette
Depp, one of the biggest Hollywood stars with a strange repertoire of work, has sued his ex-wife actress Amber Heard for defamation over an option article she wrote Washington Post on domestic abuse. Heard sued him in his response for slandering her.
In Heard’s lawsuit, Depp played Russian roulette with his life. In the sense that he did something unheard of, something that could have been a professional Harakiri for a celebrity. Wanting to protect his reputation, to tell his side of the story, he exposed himself – nipples and all that – to the world in the hope that he would be judged fairly. It was such a long plan and without any spin doctors controlling the narrative, it could have gone horribly wrong for him.
While the case with many chronicles and live broadcasts in court as dirty laundry was washed in public, the ugly details of the Depp-Heard marriage paraded in all the unflattering details with footage, messages and their own testimonies released into the world to watch. With a huge amount of convicting evidence on both sides, determining who did injustice to whom seemed almost impossible. The jury certainly had their job for them.
On the other hand, public opinion was quickly formed. From the comments on social networks, it was quite evident that regardless of the legal outcome, Heard is definitely losing on the stakes in popularity. But Depp, despite the large number of fans and their support, did not come out or smell of roses. Media commentators and experts called it a toxic relationship. Apparently, as the end drew to a close, neither side looked good.
What the verdict says
When #YesYesYes began to appear in the trend on Twitter, there was reason to believe that the jury’s verdict on the long-running court drama that the world has witnessed in the last few weeks was in Depp’s favor.
And for the same reason, the final verdict is worth examining because of the consequences it can have for both men and women.
After a six-week trial, the jury concluded that the op-ed article was written by Heard for Washington Post in which she described herself as a ‘public figure representing domestic abuse’ was slanderous. But the jury also found that one of Depp’s former lawyers, who called the allegation of abuse of Amber Heard a fraud, also slandered the actress.
If you think about it, based on the evidence presented, the arguments and the various testimonies in court, the jury’s verdict seems pretty balanced.
If you look at it arithmetically – awarding $ 15 million to Depp’s $ 50 million lawsuit and $ 2 million to Hurd’s $ 100 million counterclaim for damages, the verdict clearly acknowledges the damage done both parties albeit to varying degrees.
The verdict inevitably provoked conflicting reactions – applauded and criticized almost equally. But it is a really significant verdict that will have an impact far from the divorce of celebrities, because it also draws attention to the bigger issue of the victim.
The current era of vigilance allows for a very one-sided version of wrongdoing and sacrifice that is reinforced by social media. All that is needed to blame and embarrass the party is for someone to present a one-dimensional version of the truth. And if you can adequately make yourself look like a victim, chances are high that the World Wide Web will amplify and propagate that version. Before you realize it, a half-truth or a lie, as the case may be, becomes a gospel truth, which cannot be questioned because even interrogation itself makes you a criminal. With such a one-sided approach, the truth, despite the best intentions, is often the biggest sacrifice. It is this aspect that the Depp-Heard confrontation has placed a sharp focus on.
By striking a balance between Depp’s and Amber’s versions of their individual truths and not declaring any version a complete and absolute truth, the jury showed great wisdom and compassion. A blow to the wrist for both is a confirmation that in a conflict situation it is possible that both parties involved may be out of line, albeit to varying degrees. That is a fact that should be acknowledged as such.
The jury’s decision in this case seems to show that guilt cannot be summed up in one party alone without taking into account all relevant facts and evidence concerning both parties as a whole.
The verdict signals that gender, race, color, or any similar factor alone cannot be evidence of guilt or innocence per se. More specifically, the verdict also has a subtext – that in an equation like this, in which the relationship between two people is more or less the same celebrity or power, the victim’s claim must be supported by solid and tangible evidence, not just unsubstantiated claims.
For many, this whole Depp-Heard affair may be just another disgusting chapter in a celebrity’s life, but in reality, it’s a big step forward in showing balance and fairness when considering contentious personal conflicts – critical markers of civilized behavior in the post-era era. truths that developed rapidly.
Priyanka Sinha Jha is a senior editor, author and content strategist who extensively comments on Bollywood, celebrities and popular culture. The views are personal.
(Edited by Anurag Chaubey)