It seems as though 2021 has been a great year for every celebrity who has been scorned and ridiculed (unjustly) by the press. For the most part, these redemption arcs have been limited to those of the fairer sex, from Meghan Markle’s explosive interview with Oprah, to Demi Lovato’s docuseries about her recent (highly publicized) overdose. However, as of last week, actor Johnny Depp seems to have entered the mix.
After new evidence was released in his legal battle with his ex-wife, Amber Heard, the hashtag #JusticeForJohnnyDepp began trending on Twitter. The evidence, which took the form of LAPD body cam footage of Heard and Depp, seems to negate many of the actress’ claims about her former husband. The footage is from an alleged fight that took place between Heard and Depp in 2018, in which Heard claims that Depp hit her and destroyed their house. However, the bodycam footage shows a neat and tidy house, with no apparent damage whatsoever, according to ScreenGeek.
The footage was being used as evidence in a U.K. libel trial that Depp was waging against a tabloid that labeled him a ‘wife-beater’ after his very public breakup with Amber Heard. It was one of many pieces of evidence that the actor brought with him. Unfortunately though, even with this evidence, the U.K. courts did not rule in the actor’s favor— a ruling that prompted swift backlash from the online community. Following the ruling, the hashtag began trending again, as fans all around the world showed support for the actor following his latest legal setback.
The past couple of years have been very difficult for the former Pirates of the Carribean star. Following allegations from Amber Heard of domestic abuse, the Oscar nominated actor was forced to step back from his career in Hollywood, resigning from his role as Gellert Grindelward in the Fantastic Beasts franchise, according to BBC. At first, fans expressed disgust and anger towards the once beloved star, however, as more evidence emerged in his legal battles with Heard, fans quickly had a change of heart. In 2020, a leaked audio recording appears to have Amber Heard admitting to starting physical fights with Depp, and Depp continues to deny her allegations of abuse, claiming that it was she who abused him, according to Newsweek.
Johnny Depp’s ongoing legal battle has taken a profound toll on his career, finances, and reputation, and it has sparked a larger conversation about how we respond to male domestic abuse victims. The world was quick to believe Heard’s allegations of abuse, even before she provided substantial evidence. Conversely, Johnny Depp has spent years advocating for his innocence, providing numerous pieces of evidence that maintain his claims, and still, his image has yet to be rectified. Amber Heard’s allegations have cost Depp his career. Meanwhile, Heard continues to act in films, and even teased her upcoming film Aquaman 2 in response to rumors of her removal. While no one except for Depp and Heard will really ever know what happened within their relationship, it is shocking to see how easily male allegations of abuse can be dropped or discredited. In this post #MeToo world, justice should not be reserved for only the fairer sex. A victim is no less of a victim regardless of their gender. Johnny Depp’s story may be well known due to his celebrity status. However, it should also be recognized as a symbol of a far larger problem when it comes to domestic abuse victims. We all know that we should believe women, but now it’s the time to believe victims— even if that victim is Captain Jack Sparrow.