You were the heartthrob of generation X & Y, you won us over with your semi-effeminate looks and boyish charm. Your talents as an actor made you utterly inescapable, you were everywhere and we loved it. If you would have asked any teenage girl circa Pirates of the Caribbean who their top three male actors were, I would have bet money on it that you were up there. Your relationships with 90s girlcrushes like Winona Ryder, Vanessa Paradis and Kate Moss only made you even cooler, you saw the same things in them that we all did so we could barely even be jealous. You epitomized cool and it was that nonchalance and “down to earth” attitude that earned you pride of place in the hearts (and bedroom walls) of women and girls the world over. It would be fair to say that a large portion of your fame and fortune has been made off the love and adoration you’ve received from said women and girls, who would buy tickets to every film you were in, making sure you stayed relevant.
You know who else grew up with you on her screen? Probably swooning over you and idolising you just as so many of us did? Amber Heard. She was one of us once upon a time, another woman under the Depp spell. That was until you beat some sense into her over 15 months of marriage and in an absolute refusal to take the backlash that you had coming to you, you got your devotees to run to your aid and defend your character while smearing hers. Amber endeavored to keep this matter out of the media and yet your team went straight to the press – no doubt fully aware that the masses would flock to your side, polarizing us all in a tug of war which was somehow always weighted in your favour.
I’m sure you’re not a bad person, in fact everything up until this point had always led me to assume the contrary. But good people are still capable of doing bad things and the severity of this situation doesn’t simply extend to your and Amber’s lives – the implications of how the public have responded are much more dire than that.
You see, you are not just defending yourself; you are defending abusers everywhere and are sending a very clear message that if you’re perceived as “cool” and “nice” enough that you will get away with anything. In allowing your team to string Amber up like some sort of media piñata, you are letting people know that victim blaming is okay and resting on classic victim smearing tactics will take the heat off of you. You’re telling victims of domestic abuse that nobody will believe them if they come forward, that they will in fact be judged and branded as liars. As such a prolific individual, you had it in your power to use your voice for good and to try and diffuse the situation while still not incriminating yourself. Instead you now not only wear the blood of your abused spouse but also the blood of the other abused spouses who won’t speak out in the wake of this scandal.
So Johnny, I’m sorry but you shouldn’t be allowed to continue making money off of women’s adoration for your “cool bad boy” persona while abusing the women closest to you. You don’t get to keep your status which was built off of the love and devotion of your hordes of mostly female fans while simultaneously disrespecting each and every one of us by turning a bright young starlet into a “money grabbing whore” trope in the eyes of the media.
I choose to believe victims of abuse who muster up the courage to leave and speak out because the wider implications of not listening to them are simply not worth the warped sense of instant justice being sought for the accused. The justice system will weed out false claims and manages to shout louder than weak or falsified evidence in most cases. But here where video, photographic, eye witness and medical evidence are supplied – there is no room for conjecture. And yet voluntary blindness is rife on social media, just look at the #ImWithJohnnyDepp tag…but for what? Good looks? Talent? Are we really that shallow to think that these things actually make someone a good person?
So even though nobody wants to believe that you did this, even though your hold over us is seemingly so strong that the sheer desire NOT to believe has blinded people to any bad things you could have done; I know I’m not alone in saying that I believe Amber Heard.