Both Johnny Depp and Amber Heard had to know the jury’s verdict was mostly irrelevant to their futures. What mattered was the court of public opinion.
Depp made sure to broadcast the worst of Amber’s behavior in court so that everyone in Hollywood would know his side of the story. If Hollywood forgave him, that’s what mattered.
And if the world made a meme out of Amber Heard’s “dirty laundry”, that would be Jack Sparrow’s victory dance.
But when the verdict was finally announced, Amber also jumped on the PR machine as soon as possible. She let the world know that losing her case was not about her humiliation – it was a slap in the face to women everywhere. Women who were abused by men in power.
According to Heard, now that the world has turned a dear ear to women in peril, how will we ever take the words of an abused woman seriously again? It was a brilliant move by Heard, who attempted to frame herself as a martyr for the #MeToo movement.
Amber Heard Repeated History: Bill Cosby
But what we actually witnessed was, as Butters from South Park might paraphrase it, a “Reverse-Cosby.”
When the evidence is stacked against you and multiple witnesses step forth to debunk your claim and tell the world you’re lying – and you still deny all charges because you believe your reputation is more important than the evidence – it’s the exact same thing that Bill Cosby did in his infamous rape trial.
Did Bill Cosby try to discount all of his witnesses’ testimony? Yes.
Did Bill claim he was being “gaslit” by a community of backstabbers and charlatans coming out of the woodwork, trying to destroy his career? Yes.
And did Bill Cosby play the race card, suggesting that his conviction was the result of a conspiracy to keep him off the air? Of course he did and Cosby’s closest friends bought it.
When a guilty person is confronted with the truth, there’s no way out except to tell a perfectly convincing story that lets you off the hook – and hopefully, one that exonerates you as a hero.
That’s what Amber Heard attempted to do, by asking the jury, and the entire world, to ignore the evidence and “always believe women” because they’re incapable of lying about abuse.
Just like Cosby expected the world to believe, “Cliff Huxtable” would never lie, and certainly not rape. If you don’t believe Bill Cosby, then you must be a racist.
But just as Cosby’s day of reckoning had to come, so too did Amber Heard’s usurping of the #MeToo movement have to end.
And rather than focus on the highly unlikely possibility that everything Amber said was true and that a male-dominated Hollywood conspiracy defeated her, let’s just call it what it is — textbook narcissistic behavior, predictable, observable, and unfortunately still a recurring problem in today’s world.
Why Narcissists Love a Good Story
One of a narcissist’s go-to weapons is the perfect “spin” of a story.
A narcissist will inevitably create a beautiful narrative of their past life, one either characterized by their achievements OR by the obstacles that held them back.
While the initial story may convince new friends of this person’s amazing reputation, an intelligent narcissist knows that if they can promote their narrative by using bits and pieces of truth, they will convince a lot more people.
So no wonder Amber Heard borrowed generously from multiple news sources, (her case was partially built on random internet articles, in lieu of evidence), and used people’s own words, if possible, to build a convincing narrative of her victimization.
But the world noticed the evidence, particularly when Amber Heard mentioned people by name, referred to actual dates, and made countless mistakes with little details in her testimony.
The moment that lost the trial may well have been Amber’s casual name-dropping of Depp’s ex-girlfriend Kate Moss – someone who would or “should” be able to corroborate her own story.
When Depp’s legal team went after that thread, they pulled apart Amber’s entire argument – and reminded the jury of exactly what they witnessed when Amber mentioned Moss.
It was clearly a fabricated story by a person known to have “histrionic and borderline [Cluster B] personality disorders”, built upon a shaky foundation of lies, truths, half-truths, embellishments, hearsay, and an occasional internet article.
Amber’s version of events was a believable story and probably did have some elements of truth in it, which is why many people assumed Depp was far from a good husband.
But in the end, Amber’s story was one that could easily be picked apart by anyone with basic critical thinking skills. And that’s what the jury was asked to use for this particular trial.
A Turning Point for U.S. Culture
The long-standing ramifications of the Depp trial will be dramatic, but thankfully, they will be egalitarian in nature, not sexist.
We are not taking a step backwards against women’s rights. The fact that Amber Heard’s version of the truth uncontested for years (and got Depp fired from gigs) is proof of that.
Instead, we are taking a step back from hysteria, and making witch-hunts less fashionable.
We’re reintroducing the concept of critical thinking into a lazy and naive society that would rather “click-bait” than read the whole story.
Instead of just believing any claim that someone makes against another person, we are being reminded to examine the evidence, and cross-reference this person’s account with other records to determine the truths and half-truths.
If anything, we can hope the jury’s verdict will help bring more attention to men suffering from emotional and physical abuse in their relationships. It should also cause one to rightly wonder just how many similar rape accusations in the past were actually false, yet were still believed by the general public.
Speaking of Ruining Someone’s Life
Letting a woman’s false accusations destroy a man’s life, based on no forensic or even circumstantial evidence, and purely on hearsay, would be a terrible precedent.
How many stories have we read of men being arrested for rape, and put in prison for years, only to be vindicated later on? Does it matter that many of these men happen to be Black and Latino?
It’s true, our legal system is terrible sometimes and we execute people too quickly based on shaky foundations of evidence.
But the right to throw out testimony as hearsay and discover lies based on the witness’s own words and the words of other witnesses, is the best protection we have against hanging innocent people.
Let’s not confuse what this case was about. If anything, Johnny Depp’s defamation lawsuit was the underdog going into the trial. Men rarely win such cases against their ex-wives in court, and it’s very difficult to prove defamation at trial.
But what we saw was Amber Heard saying “Nope, nope, nope, I didn’t mean it when I said…” vs. Johnny Depp’s legal team carefully deconstructing Amber’s own testimony and bringing forth multiple witnesses to debunk her egotistical narrative piece by piece.
Amber Heard’s palpable arrogance was her downfall. Thinking that her cleverly spun story and the feminist movement itself would protect her, and assuming that the unflattering truth would never be believed (especially by the jury) was her biggest mistake.
In the end, Johnny won most of the money, Amber won one charge, and two overpaid celebrities traded some pocket change. They both embarrassed themselves for weeks.
But the precedent was set.
This isn’t #MeToo’s end. It represents the start of the #UseYourBrains movement, giving women, men, and all genders, the responsibility of paying attention to the details before jumping to irrational, life-shattering conclusions.