"He could have killed you": That's why the public sticks to Johnny Depp

No one knows the truth about Johnny Depp and Amber Heard's relationship but the two themselves.

"He could have killed you": That's why the public sticks to Johnny Depp

No one knows the truth about Johnny Depp and Amber Heard's relationship but the two themselves. Nevertheless, many fans seem to have sworn allegiance to the "Pirates of the Caribbean" star before the verdict was announced. How can that be?

Not only in the USA, but worldwide, the verdict in the defamation trial between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard is currently being watched with excitement. The ex-couple accused each other of domestic violence in court and gave the public deep insights into human abysses that are otherwise only known from scripted talk shows on afternoon television. Sexual abuse while intoxicated by alcohol and drugs, severed limbs, human feces in the bed - the allegations are so primitive and heinous that it is difficult to believe that what is being described could actually have taken place in the marriage of two Hollywood stars. Not even the spectacular murder trial of former football player O.J. Simpson could come up with so much drama.

Heard's allegations against Depp are particularly serious: the 58-year-old is said not only to have been pathologically jealous and controlling, but also to have regularly beaten her black and blue and sexually abused her over the course of their relationship. With tears, the actress described cruel incidents, after which Depp is said to have raped her with bottles and searched for cocaine in her vagina during "body searches". The photos shown in the process of the destroyed facility, torn tufts of hair, violets under the eye and bruises on the arms are intended to prove the Hollywood star's outbursts of violence.

But as vehement as the 36-year-old's allegations are, most of the public doesn't believe Heard. The alleged acts of violence appear too grotesque to the observers of the trial, their performances too theatrical and their descriptions too rehearsed. Some even accuse Heard of using quotes from the film. "If you've seen Amber Heard and felt some of those lines felt oddly familiar, you're right," one Twitter user wrote. "She steals from film, television and books". As examples, quotes from "The Talented Mr. Ripley" and from an interview by Rihanna in which the singer spoke about the beating attack by her ex-boyfriend Chris Brown are circulating online.

Meanwhile, hatred for Heard seems to be growing. In front of the courthouse, she is greeted with boos and insults. On the witness stand, she reported receiving death threats against her and her baby on a daily basis. Misogynistic memes portray her on social media as a manipulative and mentally ill liar who not only destroyed Depp's heart but also his career. While the hashtag "Justice for Johnny Depp" has around seven billion views on Tiktok and regularly trends on Twitter, "Justice for Amber Heard" has only been used 25 million times. A Change.org petition calling for Heard to be kicked out of the Aquaman franchise has already garnered four million signatures. And even Heard's witnesses, above all the psychiatrist David Spiegel, are being harassed on the Internet and overwhelmed with negative reviews.

Questionable blunders from her legal counsel were also of little help to the actress. For example, her attorney, Ben Rottenborn, caused ridicule when he objected to a question he had asked because he didn't like the answer given by Depp's witness. Elaine Bredehoft, on the other hand, got her client into trouble when, in her opening statement, she held up makeup that Heard is said to have used to cover injuries to her face. But the manufacturer, of all people, refuted this claim on the grounds that the make-up set in question had not yet been on the market when Heard was said to have been beaten by Depp.

Johnny Depp, on the other hand, enjoys the benefit of his strong public profile. He has been part of Hollywood's elite since the 1980s, admired for his acting talent and valued for his shy personality. The fact that he has been named "Sexiest Man Alive" several times should also play into his hands. So now many people are emotionally biased. Some fans became so-called "Stans" - an amalgamation of "stalker" and "fan" created by Eminem - who almost obsessively try to support their idol. In her eyes, there is nothing the 58-year-old could do wrong - and if he does, it's Heard's fault. "He could have killed you, he had every right to do so," says a Tiktok video.

Dior Sauvage, the fragrance promoted by Depp since 2015, has recently seen an increase in sales. The fact that the brand remains loyal to the actor doesn't seem to hurt it at least. Clips of the Pirates of the Caribbean star helping his lawyer with a chair or visiting critically ill children in hospital in his Captain Jack Sparrow costume have been offered as definitive proof of the film star's innocence, as has the fact that "Aquaman" star Jason Momoa and Jennifer Aniston recently followed him on Instagram. How could this kind, gentle, funny, and charming person ever end up a violent rapist?

The possibility that someone like Johnny Depp could actually be a victim of domestic violence himself - and at the hands of his attractive young ex-wife - doesn't just make it easier to believe. It also evokes even stronger emotions in observers, after all, you don't see something like this every day. The father of two has become something of a symbol for those who engage in conversation about male victims (

There is evidence that Depp's team may have used social media bots in the past to control public opinion and discredit Heard. At the same time, many viewers seem to have trouble dealing with ambiguity. While Amber Heard weighs every word, Johnny Depp's fans are ready to put every moment of doubt in his favour. But this process is not black and white, the two parties cannot be divided into "good" and "evil". Toxic behavior is evident in both Depp and Heard, yet the process desperately searches for a hero to side with. And if that hero is a Hollywood star you've already adored, all the better.

That both Heard and Depp are actors makes it all the more difficult to know what's authentic and what's not. Even supposed experts represent opinions that could not be more different. But Depp plays his role particularly well: While he greeted his fans in front of the courthouse with homemade waffles, he also cut the better figure on the witness stand. The 58-year-old spoke so unbearably slowly that it was almost as if he didn't speak English. But he used the time strategically to expose his ex-wife and tease her with cheeky statements. In general, he played with the camera, made the room laugh and reacted to everything that happened around him with facial expressions and gestures. So the audience could see on his face how he felt about his ex's allegations in real time without having to take the witness stand.

Ultimately, everything depends on the evidence presented by both sides in the trial. But Depp seems to have the better cards there too. There are no eyewitnesses to the alleged physical violence against Heard, it is testimony against testimony. The evidence is also ambiguous. Because although injuries to Heard can be clearly seen in the pictures, that does not mean that they come from Johnny Depp. E-mails in which he calls his ex a "whore" and "cunt" or video recordings of Depp drunkenly demolishing a kitchen also provide little evidence that he was equally angry at his ex- woman beat.

The domestic violence allegations have also alienated Depp's famous ex-partners Winona Ryder, Kate Moss, Vanessa Paradis and Lori Anne Allison. They all spoke out for the actor and attested to him being a "gentle" and "loving" person. Of course, just because he's never been violent toward them doesn't mean he wasn't violent toward Heard either. However, it seems unusual. Unlike Depp, Amber Heard has previously been arrested for domestic violence against an ex-girlfriend. Also in the sound recordings that were played to the court, you can not only hear how the 36-year-old admits to having hit Depp in the face. She even taunts him for it and dares him to go public with it. "Tell the world, Johnny, tell them, 'I, Johnny Depp - a man - I'm a victim of domestic violence too.' (...) Look how many people believe you or side with you."

Ultimately, no one but Johnny Depp and Amber Heard knows the truth about their relationship. In the UK, the 58-year-old has already lost a similar case against The Sun newspaper, which called him a "wife beater". Still, most of the public seems to have sworn allegiance to him. This will probably not change even if the "Pirates of the Caribbean" star should lose the process.

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