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Thomas Gallatin / June 3, 2022

Johnny Depp Defeats #MeToo

The famous actor successfully exposed how his career was waylaid by the actions of his ex-wife.

After three days of deliberation, the jury in the civil defamation case brought by famed actor Johnny Depp against his ex-wife and fellow actress Amber Heard returned with a guilty verdict. The jury found on all three allegations that Heard defamed Depp in her 2018 op-ed published in The Washington Post, costing him a couple of prominent movie roles. The jury awarded Depp $15 million, while also awarding Heard $2 million regarding a claim raised against her by one of Depp’s attorneys.

Depp, who was not in the courtroom for the verdict, responded to the news by stating, “Six years ago, my life, the life of my children, the lives of those closest to me, and also, the lives of the people who for many, many years have supported and believed in me were forever changed.” He continued: “And six years later, the jury gave me my life back. I am truly humbled. 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.”

Heard, who was in the courtroom for the reading of the verdict, responded to the loss by doing what she apparently has long done — playing the victim while also attempting to gaslight the truth. “The disappointment I feel today is beyond words,” she said. “I’m heartbroken that the mountain of evidence still was not enough to stand up to the disproportionate power, influence, and sway of my ex-husband.” She ridiculously added: “I’m even more disappointed with what this verdict means for other women. It is a setback. It sets back the clock to a time when a woman who spoke up and spoke out could be publicly shamed and humiliated. It sets back the idea that violence against women is to be taken seriously.”

If there is any setback for women, it would be thanks almost entirely to Heard’s own deceitful and abusive behavior. That the justice system did its job in exposing her lies, especially when it comes to the sensitive issue of domestic violence, isn’t a setback but rather a needed reset against the #MeToo movement’s absolutist mantra of “believe all women.”

Back in 2018, at the height of #MeToo, Heard sought to cash in on the movement by painting herself as a victim with her op-ed in which she falsely claimed to be a “public figure representing domestic abuse.” While she did not name Depp in the article, her references were clearly intended to paint Depp as her abuser. The strategy worked; Depp soon found his career waylaid, as he was effectively blacklisted in Hollywood. All it took were the accusations of a jaded ex-wife.

However, what came out in the trial painted a much different picture, with Heard exposed as a manipulative, antagonistic bully who repeatedly heaped verbal and physical abuse onto Depp. Heard was exposed as the victimizer, not the victim. That said, the jury did not find that Depp is an upstanding man, either. At a minimum, he struggles with substance abuse and can be exceedingly cruel. That two people can treat each other so horribly is a truly sad story.

While the trial presented a look into the messy lives of the rich and famous, its value was that it undercut some of the dangerous narratives spawned by the #MeToo movement. As Depp noted, his quest was for the truth to get out, which will likely prove to be of greater value to him personally. But it’s also helpful for the country at large. Truth matters more than ideological narratives.

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