Earn points for Johnny Depp in the Amber Heard trial | culture | DW

In the defamation trial between Hollywood star Johnny Depp and his ex-wife Amber Heard, the jury was largely unanimous
She sided with Depp – but she also agreed with Heard on some points. The seven jurors in Fairfax County, Virginia, awarded the Pirates of the Caribbean star $15 million in damages. The amount consists of two parts, ten and five million dollars. Due to a special regulation in Virginia, the second payment was reduced to a maximum of $350,000, giving Depp $10.35 million.

His ex-wife, Amber Heard, got $2 million after her ex-husband’s lawyer slandered her, accusing her of falsifying evidence. This results in a calculated sum of $8.35 million that Heard will have to pay Depp.

Johnny Depp fans make fun of Amber Head outside a courtroom in Fairfax, Virginia.

The experiment had already begun on April 12, 2022. A global audience watched the experiment live online. Every new statement, every emotion from the two Hollywood stars has been hotly debated on social media. Many users had already formed their opinion before the verdict: Johnny Depp received a lot of encouragement, and Amber Heard was slandered.

Millions of people follow the process

The process was like a mud fight between celebrities that involved a lot of money. Depp sued Heard over an op-ed she wrote for The Washington Post in December 2018 in which she described herself as a “public figure who represents domestic violence.” Texas-born Heard did not name Depp in the article, but he sued her for allegedly burglary, seeking $50 million in damages.

Heard, 36, filed a $100 million counterclaim, claiming she suffered “absolute physical violence and abuse” at his hands. Dozens of witnesses testified at the trial, including bodyguards, Hollywood executives, agents, entertainment industry experts, doctors, friends and relatives. I watched the network. The example of this civil lawsuit also demonstrated how powerful entertainment and mediation can be in influencing not only politics and news, but also the judiciary in the United States.

Male violence against women

This competition for attention carries the risk of underestimating serious problems. After all, this is not fiction: Amber Heard and Johnny Depp are real people, and domestic violence, the subject of the trial, is a global phenomenon. In Germany, every third woman is a victim of physical and sexual violence at least once in her life, the Federal Ministry for Families, Women, Seniors and Youth writes on its website. Most experience violence in their partnership: About every four women have been a victim of physical or sexual violence at least once at the hands of their current or former partner. Researchers have now found that domestic violence usually precedes murder, and psychological violence precedes domestic violence. Male violence against women is not isolated but systematic.

On the other hand, the chance of a woman falsely accusing a man of sexual violence is very slim: the BBC reported in 2018 that only about eight percent of all rape allegations were false.

British feminist Laura Bates, founder of the Everyday Sexism Project (German: Everyday Sexism), says in short for Elle magazine: “A man is 270 times more likely to be raped than that. He will be falsely accused of rape.”

Laws change, but prejudices persist

Regardless of the verdict, the operation caused great harm. He and the media controversy surrounding him, in which public sympathy has swung in favor of Johnny Depp, have revealed that patriarchal styles still prevail. Comments on the live broadcast of the trial titled Heard “The Beast” and “The Liar”. Although no verdict has been issued yet, most viewers felt that the actress was wrong.

This stereotype – disbelief of women and men of sympathy – is outdated. Harvard professor Maria Tatar recently explained in her book The Heroine with 1001 Face that this is a cultural pattern that stretches from antiquity through the Middle Ages to the founding of the modern nation-state at the beginning of the 19th century to the present day.

USA Johnny Depp-Amber Heard trial |  Supporters in front of the court

This protester expresses his support for Amber Heard on May 23, 2022 in Fairfax.

Women have less credibility – since ancient times

Mary Beard, professor of archeology at Cambridge, said silencing women has a tradition that goes back more than 2,000 years. It begins in ancient Greece. Even if the legal situation changes in the meantime, women are still discredited, humiliated, and even threatened in public – every three days a woman is forever silenced, and murdered. Usually by a man. Violence against women is not easy. The question of whether the Depp vs. Heard process has harmed this important principle remains to be negotiated in the long run – even after the ruling.

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