Depp v Heard: The case with no winners

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Johnny Depp v Amber Heard lawsuit
Johnny Depp v Amber Heard lawsuit

MANY of us will be happy to never hear the names Johnny Depp or Amber Heard again. The defamation case brought forward by Depp will finally culminate tomorrow, after what feels like years of cross-examinations and social media pile-ons.

While one will be awarded damages, there are no real winners here. Heard was accused of defecating on her husband’s bed – that told him! – and Depp’s serious addiction issues were laid bare for the world to see.

He wrote messages on the walls in his own blood, while she kitted out her family and friends with new homes at his expense. It is clear that both parties have serious issues which resulted in a toxic relationship that should have ended years before it did.

Not only did this case make a mockery of both parties, but it also highlighted the insane world of social media. Random people that have never met Heard or Depp obsessed over every intricate detail. They analysed body language, wrote 1000-word conspiratorial blogs, and some investigated a make-up brand that Amber told the jury she used to cover up bruises.

These ‘stans’ – obsessive fans of a particular celebrity – turned the whole thing into a circus. From day one, they lost sight of what was at the heart of the case, alleged domestic violence.

While there’s pretty strong evidence that there was foul play on both sides, within days, Amber Heard was branded a manipulative liar, with the hashtag #AmberHeardIsAPsychopath trending on Twitter. I would argue that there’s an element of hypocrisy here. The type of behaviour these obsessed fans display; running fan accounts for hours every day of people they’ve never met, studying court footage and even forming crowds outside the court is not exactly normal behaviour.

While I’m sure somebody in Hollywood is already trying to bag the rights to make this circus into a Netflix documentary, it begs the question of why the world is so obsessed with defamation cases. Depp v Heard is just the latest; Wagatha Christie, JK Rowling v Daily Mail, Depp v the Sun.

These cases are trivialised to the point that you can purchase ‘Team Depp’ merch and a Wagatha Christie birthday card. It seems that in recent years, there is no real winner of these cases because the public has become too involved. We obsess over pointless details and examine the cases as if they actually affect us, which they don’t.

Critics have claimed that the social media pile-on from this case will lead people to not take domestic abuse allegations seriously. This is true, and a case about abuse deserved more respect than being turned into a TikTok circus and should never have been televised in the first place. Whatever side wins, it is clear that the court of public opinion has already made their minds up, and that’s far more damning than whatever the courts decide.

Regardless of the outcome tomorrow, here’s to hoping they both spend their time and effort into getting therapy so we never have to hear about this again.

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