Johnny Depp-Amber Heard trial: Forgiveness of men shows he has already won

Johnny Depp has one huge advantage over Amber Heard and if it doesn’t see him win the court case, it will likely see him triumph overall.

The Johnny Depp and Amber Heard trial is raging on. Since the court case started, the internet has been bombarded with clips from the trial and the matter has basically become water cooler talk. Everyone has an opinion, and a side.

Heard’s ex-husband Johnny Depp is currently suing the actress her for $US50 million ($A70 million) over a 2018 Washington Post op-ed in which she wrote about being a victim of domestic abuse. She did not name Depp in the piece, but he claims the allegations are clearly directed at him.

While the debate online about Depp and Heard rages on, I’m becoming increasingly uncomfortable with how comfortable everyone else is with giving Johnny Depp the benefit of the doubt.

If we are honest with ourselves, the world has a very long history of doing this, forgiving men for terrible behaviour. Society likes to believe that men can and will do better, even after making mistakes.

I mean, this year stand-up comedian Louie C.K won a Grammy for his comedy album, even though in 2017 he’d been “cancelled” over reports he had sexually harassed upcoming female comedians.

If that wasn’t enough proof that we forgive men, look at singer Chris Brown who physically assaulted his girlfriend, Rihanna, in 2009. After giving Rihanna a black eye, he has gone on to release several studio albums and found plenty of success.

He even collaborated with Justin Bieber.

My point is that we forgive men, and we give them the space to continue to soar.

So, the fact that the whole internet seems to be on Depp’s side isn’t exactly surprising. That’s why you’ll see TikToks of Depp visiting children in hospital. You’ll see loving quotes from former girlfriends of Depp, used almost like an alibi against the accusations by Heard, and you’ll keep hearing about what a great guy Depp is.

There are TikToks dedicated to how handsome he looks while in court and hashtag #JusticeForJohnnyDepp that has gone viral.

Never mind that he wrote text messages where he said he wanted to “burn” Heard, or there’s video proof of him having physical tantrums. It feels like everyone is prepared to overlook that and just concentrate on the good he has done, which would all be well and good if the same kindness was bestowed on Heard.

You see, while Depp is given the benefit of the doubt, Heard is being villainised and harassed online. There’s a petition circulating for Heard to be cut out of Aquaman 2 and replaced with Blake Lively. You’ll also notice that it’s hard to find anything nice or good about Heard on the internet.

Former co-stars are staying suspiciously quiet, no one is mentioning her charity work, and it’s almost as if, at least online, that there’s not even a shred of evidence to prove she’s a fully fleshed-out person.

I understand it would be simple to decide that the internet is siding with Depp because he is in the right and Heard is in the wrong.

But enough evidence has been uncovered from this trial to at least make us aware that Depp hasn’t behaved well, yet everyone is prepared to forgive him. How can there be an online hashtag demanding justice for Depp when his joked about raping Heard?

You might argue that evidence has also come out in this case that makes Heard look bad. There are recordings of her saying some mean things to Depp, like calling him “old”. But why aren’t we so prepared to give her the benefit of the doubt? Why have we decided her worst behaviour is who she is, but Depp’s worst behaviour was a lapse in judgment?

If they have both done and said terrible things, why are we so willing to forgive Depp? And subsequently, so set on punishing Heard? I’d say it’s because we love to punish women and forgive men.

Mary Madigan is a freelance writer.

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