Johnny and the Libel Trial


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Johnny Depp Trial: Depp´s Bahamas Estate Manager + A Forensic Psychologist Testify (FULL DAY 9) – Entertainment Tonight youtube video still

After a whirlwind career as an A-list actor, and relationships with the likes of Winona Rider and Vanessa Paradis, Johnny Depp is back in headlines involving his ex-wife and popular actress Amber Heard. This has quickly become  one of the most star-studded cases in the last decade. 

According to The Independent,Depp is suing [his ex-wife] Heard for defamation over a 2018 op-ed in which she implied he had abused her. Depp is seeking $50 million in damages over The Washington Post column which, he alleges, impacted his Hollywood career directly.” Heard is countersuing Depp for about 100 million dollars for the abuse she claims to have endured. 

Many celebrities such as Elon Musk, James Franco and Paul Bettany have been called to take the stand. Both Musk and Franco are rumored to have been in relationships with Heard. As of Hi’s Eye print deadline, the witnesses that have been called to the stand include forensic psychologist Dr. Shannon Curry, a clinical and forensic psychologist, Depp’s best friend, Isaac Baruch, as well as Depp himself. Within the courtroom, claims have ranged from a three-day hostage situation in Australia, to Depp alleging that Heard defecated in their bed.

Social media coverage is overwhelmingly in Depp´s favor, in part due to his wealth, fame and charisma. On the other hand, Heard has received little positive coverage in the media. Users blatantly ignore actual evidence against Depp, such as texts threatening Heard’s life, and assume that everything on social media is accurate. This begs the question, what is the public to believe?

The positive depiction of Depp online directly contradicts court documents from one of their previous trials in 2020 in which it states, “The Defendants have however in this trial have proved that the Claimant [Depp] has been violent towards Ms. Heard on several occasions.”

WHS English Teacher Elizabeth Palamara said, “She [Heard] is not a saint, but she’s being dragged online. Then, there’s an explosion of pro-Johnny Depp videos all over the place.”

When we were writing this piece, both of us were adamant about the innocence of Depp due to the overwhelming support he has received online. Though, after going through court files, as well as talking with Palamara, we are left confused and unsure. We believe neither party is completely blameless in the proceedings, but to bash Heard, a possible victim of abuse, is horrifying. Instead of people using their platforms to degrade and denounce Heard, social media needs to be dedicated to giving the hard, unbiased facts of the case and not use media to sway public opinion. 

At this time, we have no idea what to believe about the Heard-Depp trial, but this confusion is liberating because it has freed us from the contamination of post-truth misinformation. We hope that when the jury makes their final verdict, they are free from it as well.