When Amber Heard Made a Mistake and All Women Got Cursed
Over the course of six weeks of court hearings, pleadings, and witness testimony in the most famous trial of Hollywood stars and former couple Amber Heard and Johnny Depp, I have grown convinced that misogyny is rampant not only in the Arab region but around the world too. In my estimation, blatant gender discrimination against women was Amber’s most prominent opponent in the case, not Johnny.
After an apparently stormy two-year marriage, Johnny Depp is suing his ex-wife Amber Heard for $50 million in damages, accusing her of “defaming him and damaging his career” over an opinion article in which she described herself as a “victim of domestic violence and abuse.”, noting that the article does not explicitly mention Johnny’s name.
Amber Heard, on the other hand, is seeking $100 million in compensation from her ex-husband, who called her a “liar.” She insists he was an abusive person, suffering from drug abuse, jealousy, and self-harm.
Johnny, in his turn, rejected these accusations and even accused her of being “violent” and of physically assaulting him, including a punch in the face that left a mark on his eye.
While it may be normal for the trial to receive wide public attention since both sides of which are Hollywood stars. Even siding with Johnny Depp for being more popular than his young actress ex-wife is understandable, however, what I find unnatural is having a sweeping bias against Amber and trying to “demonize” her.
This bias is evident in online comments. For example, the #justiceforjohnnydepp hashtag trended with more than 15 billion posts, compared to a few million on the #imwithamberheard hashtag.
We also saw how some painted a mural for Amber looking like Pinocchio, “the lying kid” and how schoolchildren put her picture on a trash can to demean her and held Johnny’s picture up high.
What vexes me most is that an organization that claims to defend women, victims of domestic violence, divulges its “sympathy” with Johnny Depp in a case where the court has not passed its judgment yet, especially since it is unequivocally clear that we are facing a toxic relationship between two abusive people, both of whom have caused violence and harm to the other to varying degrees.
The Demonization of Amber Heard
Because of the strong exhortation against Amber online, many do not know that she actually has witnesses and evidence of Johnny’s domestic violence against her, including pulling out some hairs from her head and punching her in the face, threatening her with death and boasting about his ability to beat her after her becoming his wife in front of a mutual friend.
Even the ex-couple psychotherapist, Dr. Laurel Anderson, said in her court statement that “the two movie stars engaged in what I saw as mutual abuse.” She proved that she interviewed the couple in several treatment sessions between October and December 2015.
During her testimony, Anderson spoke about Heard and Depp’s history of domestic violence, explaining that the former was beaten by her father, while the latter was beaten by his mother.
Many of Depp’s supporters mention his being subjected to violence by his mother wide across social media posts, and denounce how “two women” destroyed his psychological and artistic life in a more comprehensive attempt to “demonize women.”
No one mentions the abuse Amber was subjected to at the hands of her father. She is not considered a victim of “male violence” in any case. Instead of pointing out that she has experienced domestic violence, Amber is promoted as a model of “perjurer” women.
Many Johnny Depp supporters missed that being a victim of domestic violence in no way negates the possibility that he was also violent or abusive.
We do not rule out that solidarity with him stems from defending any white man as a symbol of the privilege of power and authority, which means that Amber might have received more sympathy if her opponent in the case had not been a white man or a movie star, who knows?
This duality has finally led some women to ask: How much proof do women need to be believed?
Unfortunately, no matter how much evidence women count, in my opinion, they will not be believed and there will always be a way to empathize with the perpetrator if he is a man.
Empathy for Abusers Ensures Impunity
The question that has not left my mind since the trial began is: why is it that when a woman makes a mistake, all the women on earth are considered guilty, while when a man commits a crime, no matter how heinous, all men are implicitly and preemptively defended by describing the guilty as “not being a man”?
I’m not defending Amber in this article; all I’m saying is that she deserves a fair trial away from any incitement or prejudice against her because she is a woman.
I also fear that the widespread sympathy for Depp gives celebrity abusers more comfort in bullying women with the confidence of impunity, even evading moral punishment, which is the risk of losing reputation and popularity.
At the beginning of the trial, Johnny was not as professional as he now appears smiling, sometimes laughing sarcastically, making jokes, having fun with his team of lawyers, and sometimes even entertaining himself by drawing someone.
Even his arrival at the court is now celebrated by cheers and expressions of love and solidarity from his audience as if he is not accused of any nefarious deed.
This broad and unconditional solidarity with Johnny Depp is a “blank check” to abusive men, especially celebrities, who no matter what they do to women, will receive acceptance and support. This is particularly terrifying in Arab countries.
We have a history of misogynistic Arab celebrities whose abuses have been condoned, on top of them is Saad Lamjarred and Wael Kfoury, which encourages others to engage in similar criminal behavior.
Whatever the final verdict, I can affirm that Johnny’s advantage over Amber is his acting prowess.
He knows when to be calm when to get excited, and when to provoke the other with laughter and sarcastic expressions, just as he is good at picking out his words and drawing facial expressions that bring empathy while talking. She has undoubtedly failed to compete with him.