Much of society, infused by decades of feminist ideology, refuses to perceive Johnny Depp as a possible victim of domestic abuse. More than just a successful actor, Depp represents masculinity, which feminism views as oppression. He is the “Patriarchy” personified.
In the fallout of the #MeToo movement, which saw dozens of high-profile men in every industry out of a job over accusations of sexual harassment, assault, and worse, a target has been painted on the backs of every high-status male.
That’s not to say that #MeToo didn’t do good: predators like Harvey Weinstein, who was eventually convicted of rape, were brought to justice. But the hunt for men who stepped out of bounds resulted in more than a few false positives.
At the height of the #MeToo movement in 2018, the Sun was the first to label Depp a “wife-beater.” With only the words of his ex-wife, Amber Heard, to go by, the British tabloid newspaper eagerly described him as a domestic abuser without even so much as a trial to either exonerate or condemn the actor. Depp sued the paper in 2020 and lost, opening the floodgates for even more efforts to cancel him. The Mail on Sunday, the Daily Beast, and other publications had no problem repeating the claim in 2021. It wasn’t libel because a British judge said so.
While the $50 million defamation lawsuit by Depp against his accuser Heard remains ongoing, society itself is struggling to come to grips with the possibility that Depp may not be the monster that the media has portrayed.
Testimonies heard by the court since the start of the trial paint a very different picture than the simple and clear-cut portrayal of Depp as a domestic abuser. The physical and emotional abuse in the couple’s relationship was far from one-sided – Depp testified that he often retreated into drugs and alcohol when he got badgered into an altercation with Heard. One such fight, he said, led to the tip of his finger being severed when she allegedly threw a bottle at him. Heard disputes this, saying Depp cut it himself while drunk.
Heard’s lawyers, meanwhile, argued that his copious use of alcohol is what caused Depp to initiate arguments in the first place. It couldn’t just be that Heard might have started the fights and in turn caused him to recede into alcohol abuse. As the man in the relationship, the responsibility for every toxic encounter falls squarely on Depp’s shoulders. So much for equal rights.
While men are clearly disadvantaged when it comes to reporting instances of domestic abuse, Johnny Depp represents more than a simple case of another man done wrong by society. Depp embodies what it means to be a “sigma” male – an independent, wealthy, talented, and successful heartthrob. He is the quintessential man.