Johnny Depp trial: A defeat for #MeToo, but a victory for blind justice
The genderization justice is the most unfortunate, but perhaps the most inevitable, outcome of the #MeToo and #BelieveAllWomen movements.
This week, those hashtag crusades suffered a major setback with a Virginia jury awarding actor Johnny Depp $15 million in damages for defamation by his ex-wife, Amber Heard, who falsely accused him of sexual violence in a Washington Post editorial in 2018.
The trial, which began April 12 and lasted six weeks, also saw Heard awarded $2 million for a defamation claim over false statements made by Depp’s lawyer.
Reactions in the mainstream press and on social media were, predictably, mixed.
Unable to fully cope with a Depp victory, Twitter told the story in its “What’s Happening” bar as “jury finds Amber Heard and Johnny Depp defamed after weeks-long trial.” The mainstream media were more honest, admitting Depp had prevailed, even as testy protests filled their opinion columns.
While gender-obsessed commentators will describe Johnny Depp’s trial as a victory for men and a defeat for women, it is actually a victory for justice and a defeat for bias.
All women who make allegations of sexual assault should be taken seriously. But not all of these women should be believed just because they are women. This fact is as obvious as the assertion that all white people are not to be believed when bringing criminal charges against those of a minority race.
Justice can only last as long as the courts try the accused as individuals rather than as members of a collective.
Heard had hoped her sex would bend the law in her favor. “I am even more disappointed in what this verdict means for other women,” she wrote in a statement following the judgment.
Depp, on the other hand, was grateful that justice is gender-blind, writing in his post-trial statement“I hope my quest for the truth to be told has helped others, men or women, who have found themselves in my situation.”
Lady justice is blind for a reason. The principle that an accused is innocent until proven guilty is what distinguishes Western jurisprudence from the mob justice and corruption characteristic of other times in history and other societies even today.
Amber Heard’s case failed not because of her gender, but because of the evidence weighed by the jury. Addressing the New York Postformer California judge Halim Dhanidina – whose clients included actors, directors and writers – said the jury found Heard to be “either inauthentic or exaggerated or undeserving of empathy”.
“Many of Heard’s emotional clues on the witness stand did not match his testimony,” Dhanidina told the Post. “She would get very passionate at odd times or make awkward attempts to connect with the jury by talking directly to them.”
It also appears to have hurt Heard’s case that she failed to keep her story clear and that her allegation that Depp threw ex-girlfriend Kate Moss down a flight of stairs was refuted by Moss herself at the witness stand.
Then there were the leaked audio recordings in which Heard taunted Depp to go public with the mutual abuse in their relationship and “see what the jury and the judge think.” “Tell the world, Johnny, tell them, Johnny Depp, me Johnny Depp, a man, I’m also a victim of domestic violence,” she quipped. “See how many people believe or side with you.”
Heard got her wish – and the world will remember it as the day she nearly caught Captain Jack Sparrow.
Now what about the woke outfits that de facto defamed Depp before the trial was heard? In a classic case of cancel culture, Disney dumped Depp of their Pirates of the Caribbean frankness in the rising tide of Heard’s accusations.
Worse still, the ACLU ghost wrote the Washington Post op-ed for Heard, after promising to pay them $7 million for their troubles. The ACLU and WaPo are no doubt preparing for legal action.
God willing, the whole saga serves as a cultural reset for blind justice and the presumption of innocence.