Image: AFP / Jim Watson - Getty Images
TW for domestic abuse.

Actor Johnny Depp and Amber Heard’s defamation trial began last week on April 21, causing controversy and conversation, something that many are used to seeing when a high-profile trial like this one occurs. Depp says that Heard, who is his ex-wife, ruined his reputation and name after writing an op-ed for the Washington Post describing her experience as a victim of abuse. She did not use Depp’s name, but Depp’s $50 million lawsuit claims that the article has ruined his reputation and made him lose out on roles, as the article implied it was him without directly naming him. As the lawsuit continues to unravel, there have been a lot of conflicting opinions on the matter, as people struggle to understand who was at fault.

In the past 10 days, many have watched as Depp’s lawyers have to prove that Heard’s account of events was untrue, which would prove that Heard’s article was defamation. Both attorneys of the actors have accused each other of abuse, which makes the case a bit murky as people online try to choose a side. Depp has stated that Heard was the “aggressor” while Heard’s attorneys have stated her article was in line with her first amendment rights, as she was just accounting for her experience. In the article, she says that ” two years ago, I became a public figure representing domestic abuse, and I felt the full force of our culture’s wrath for women who speak out” which many could see as a reference to Depp. Their marriage counselor has confirmed that there was “mutual abuse.”

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As of right now in the trial, Depp has taken the stand in the past three days and is now being cross-examined. His text messages are being used as evidence, as in 2013 he joked about burning Heard, and said that he was embarrassed to see these texts, saying he often uses dark humor as a way of expression. He has denied all accounts of abuse, saying that he has never hit a woman in his life. He also alleged that Heard was physically abusive towards him, saying that she threw objects at him, like a vodka bottle that severed his finger, though Heard has claimed self-defense.

The online response

As expected, there is a divide of opinions online. Some wonder that Depp’s accusations are not being believed by some due to Depp being a man, as men are historically not believed when recounting abuse. In fact, there was a video recording released between the two, where Heard said that nobody would believe him. #JusticeforJohnnyDepp has been trending online throughout the trial, as people believe in his innocence. Many have also brought up voice memos where she says that she started a physical fight, and admitted to hitting him.

On the other side though, many also fight for Amber Heard’s justice as well, meaning there are also people who believe her story as well. This trial has revealed things about our culture, who is often ready to use trials like these as a debate point, sometimes ignoring the seriousness behind the trial, which can be an issue.

The trial is expected to go on for six more weeks, according to those involved, and it is clear that many people are passionate for both sides.