Photo by Cliff Owen/Consolidated News Pictures/Getty Images
“And six years later, the jury gave me my life back."

After six weeks, the defamation trial between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard comes to a close as the jury finds Johnny Depp was defamed by his ex-wife Amber Heard. In 2018, Heard wrote an op-ed piece alleging that she was abused. And though she did not use any names, Depp claims that this op-ed ruined his career and reputation. Now, the jury finds that the article had defamed Heard. But, the jury also found that Heard was defamed by one of Johnny Depp’s lawyers. Additionally, Depp was awarded more money, as the jury awards Depp $15 million, with Heard $2 million. Now, as the trial that captivated an audience through its eternity, many discuss how this trial may have set a precedent for defamation trials in the future.

In a statement, Depp says “I hope that my quest to have the truth be told will have helped others, men or women, who have found themselves in my situation, and that those supporting them never give up,” and how the jury’s decision gave Depp’s life back. In a very different statement, Heard writes “I’m heartbroken that the mountain of evidence still was not enough to stand up to the disproportionate power, influence, and sway of my ex-husband.” She adds “It is a setback. It sets back the clock to a time when a woman who spoke up and spoke out could be publicly shamed and humiliated. It sets back the idea that violence against women is to be taken seriously.”

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Although many disagreed with Heard and believed this set a precedent for victims to come forward and be believed, her statements ring true to some. In an article for New York Times, writer Michelle Goldberg writes “The volatile actress — who at times was violent toward Depp, and who never made good on a promise to donate her entire divorce settlement to charity — is very far from a perfect victim. That made her the perfect object of a #MeToo backlash.” With the incredibly publicized trial and the influx of hatred towards Heard, some wonder if this will prohibit victims from speaking out as they do not want to face public backlash.

Others, however, think this is empowering for male victims or those who might not consider themselves believable victims, as this encourages them to speak out despite these fears.