Depp and Heard in court: As if the Me-Too debate had never existed

A verdict in the trial between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard is still pending.

Depp and Heard in court: As if the Me-Too debate had never existed

A verdict in the trial between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard is still pending. But the public has already formed an opinion. And it is reminiscent of a time when women had to fear the might of powerful men.

The defamation lawsuit between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard has had the world in suspense for more than a month. The trial before a court in the US state of Virginia paints a harrowing picture of the short but turbulent marriage. The testimony on both sides was painful and draining: Heard's attorneys pressured Depp for hours about his drug use while his witnesses made claims about Heard's alleged personality disorder. A verdict is pending in Fairfax County Circuit Court.

However, the public seems to have already liked this on social media. Videos with the hashtag were posted on Tiktok

The public reaction to this case is reminiscent of the days before Harvey Weinstein and all the hundreds of "Me Too" cases that ushered in a new era and fundamentally changed how we view women speaking out about sexual violence. A time when women rarely made allegations of abuse of power and violence because they feared the force with which powerful men might hit back.

Sure, there's good reason not to believe Amber Heard. Heard admits she didn't live up to her divorce agreement to donate $7 million to the human rights organization American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Children's Hospital of Los Angeles. There is evidence that she also became violent in the relationship. Testimony from police officers who were called to Depp's penthouse after an alleged altercation between Depp and Heard in May 2016 does not match the actress's claims. The list goes on.

But there are also plenty of reasons not to believe Johnny Depp. He claimed in court that he "never hit a woman". But a court in London sees it differently. The actor lost in the trial against the British newspaper "The Sun", which called Depp a "woman beater". The court ruled that 12 of the 14 allegations against Depp in the trial were "substantially true".

It's not the first time a woman has accused Depp of violence and toxic jealousy: US actress Ellen Barkin, who had a "sexual relationship" with him for several months in 1994, recalled an incident in a Las Vegas hotel room, in which Depp threw a wine bottle at Barkins during an argument with a friend. He has been accused of hitting a crew member on a movie set for no reason. Much has been reported about his excessive drug and alcohol use and its unpredictable effects.

With all these accusations, it can be hard to keep track. But one thing is becoming increasingly clear in this process: both actors appear to have major mental health issues. Alan Blaustein, Depp's former psychiatrist, testified in court that Depp is "bipolar" and has "anger issues." Forensic psychologist Shannon Curry, on the other hand, testified that she diagnosed Heard with borderline personality disorder.

Amber Heard is not the perfect victim. She too made mistakes - she even admitted that in court. No one is asking you to blindly believe Heard just because she's a woman. But the force with which she is taken apart in public is frightening. It is reminiscent of a time that we wanted to have overcome long ago: in which women, as soon as there is even a small reason for it, are not believed - men, on the other hand, are still given a great leap of faith, even if there are many arguments against it.


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