It doesn’t matter whose side you are on in the Amber Heard Vs. Johnny Depp trial. Many people subscribe to #JusticeForJohnny, whereas others feel like we could all use a refresher course in the #metoo movement. I personally think they’re just bad as each other, and things got really out of hand. From recordings of Amber to Johnny writing disturbing messages, it’s clear to see they both have their issues.
Until the court favours one side or the other, everyone is entitled to speculate about how this will go. However, when did it become OK to dehumanise both of these people simply because they are celebrities? In doing so, all those guilty are turning a blind eye to the seriousness of domestic violence and ignoring that, in whatever form, it is no joking matter?
Each generation has seen its fair share of highly publicised trials, but never have I seen so many collectively diminish the seriousness of such a prevalent issue. Domestic violence affects people everywhere. It knows no colour, creed, or class, and the amount of victims it has claimed is devastating. The number of memes, reaction videos and TikTok’s that have come off the back of this painstaking trial is gross and beyond problematic for so many reasons, but here are three I think are important to raise.
In the US, 1 in 4 women and 1 in 9 men experience severe domestic violence. In 2021, domestic violence increased 6% in the UK and continues to rise each year. Don’t even get me started on the countries where women don’t have the rights and men don’t have the support even to report such things or claim them as crimes. How do people online not think that taking the absolute piss out of the situation – that for so many is a reality – wouldn’t be triggering for some? Ever since the trial started, you physically cannot escape it or the thousands of pieces of insensitive content that have followed, without unplugging. Those creating, reposting and resharing have not given a second thought to those who have survived it or may still be going through it. I hate to see it.
I like Johnny Depp as much as the next person, and I don’t want to believe the things Amber is saying he did – at this point, we truly are running out of actors. HOWEVER, imagine if she is telling the truth? I get that in the court of public opinion, Amber is not your “perfect victim”. You know, the quiet, shell-shocked, distraught woman in the dock who couldn’t possibly roll her eyes or not stand for the judge. This warped sense that a victim fits in a box is ridiculous and misogynistic but let’s not pretend that’s not why she’s in the firing line. The online community have created trends based on her “courtroom mumbles” and “fake crying” faces. IMAGINE if evidence comes out to support the contrary? So many people have dragged this woman through the muddiest of mud because they don’t like the way she cries.
Men suffering from domestic abuse require some much-needed attention. How male domestic abuse is discussed and dealt with in reality is sooooo far behind. Some men still don’t feel comfortable coming forward because it’s “embarrassing”. Knowing this, how will caricaturing Johnny and Amber help society’s attitude progress? If Johnny Depp is telling the truth – because they’re so high profile – this case could have been a beacon for change or more advocacy around male domestic violence, but instead, the whole thing is a complete joke.
TikTokers and all those jumping on the trend are seriously misguided for finding any of this funny. Yes, Amber’s lawyer is a joke, and yes, there have been some questionable moments in court, but laugh for a second (IF YOU MUST) and move on. Let’s not immortalise this in this way because all the noise is clouding the core issues of this trial and, quite frankly, shines a light on a truly ugly aspect of our society and how it exists online.
Despite personal opinions, a verdict has not yet been reached, and we have no idea what else this trial could reveal. Celebrities or not, these are real people, but more importantly, the issues they are facing are real for many people. So please, have some fucking respect.
Image credit: GabboT