America, if not the entire world, seems to be waiting with bated breath to see the outcome of the Hollywood courtroom drama between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard. Will it be “Justice for Johnny,” or will there be an Amber Alert issued in favor of the #IStandWithAmberHeard fans? This six-week trial has been widely popular with the public, and now that the jury of seven has been released to deliberate, everyone wants to know who will win this battle.
Mud-slinging has been the name of the game. Depp and Heard have each accused each other of physical and emotional abuse. Heard, though, has also claimed that Depp sexually abused her as well, to which the Pirates of the Caribbean star responded:
“Humiliating. Unimaginably brutal, cruel, and all false. No human being is perfect, but I have never in my life committed sexual battery, physical abuse. All these outlandish, outrageous stories of me committing these things … [I’ve been] living with it for six years and waiting to be able to bring the truth out.”
Last week, both legal teams made their final arguments with Depp’s attorneys seeming to have the more powerful message, saying Heard had given the “performance of her life,” and appealing to the jury members to give Depp “his life back.” Heard’s lawyers claimed Depp’s lawsuit against her exposed the Aquaman heroine to face a “campaign of global humiliation” and then informed the jurors that to rule against her would make them an “accomplice” to Depp’s supposed abuse.
Amanda K. Ruisi, founder and president of AKR Public Relations & AKR Ventures, told CNN that she believes Depp’s representatives were more effective during the trial. “Mr. Depp’s legal and strategic communications team have done an incredible job in delivering a consistent message in the courtroom and throughout the media, which I believe has helped corral the support from his fan base.”
The jury returns today (May 31) after being given a three-day weekend for the Memorial Day holiday; however, that doesn’t mean they will have a ruling yet. It could be days before we know the final decision, but most agree it should be sometime this week.
What happens if Depp loses his case? He could appeal, but it’s unlikely he will take that route unless there is more evidence to back up his claim. The jury could find that the actor proved his point, but that the $50 million price tag is too much or too little and suggest an alternate payout. Johnny, however, would likely be stuck with his legal fees if the jury sides with Heard. If Heard loses, she, of course, will not only have to pay whatever the jury decides Depp should be awarded, but probably his court costs as well.
Public opinion seems to be more on the side of Johnny than his ex-wife, but there are those who say that if Captain Jack Sparrow wins the case, survivors of domestic abuse have all lost. In an opinion piece for MSNBC, author Liz Plank said, “I’m less interested in whether Heard is a liar and more interested in why so many people are gleefully invested in the idea that she might be.” She added: “Millions of people seem suddenly interested in domestic violence – but only because there’s a chance a scorned and vengeful woman might be lying about it.”
And here are a couple of choice quotes from her article:
“The trial is revealing a lot about Johnny Depp and Amber Heard – but it’s revealing a lot more about us. Why is our supposedly progressive culture suddenly obsessed with old-school, misogynistic tropes about lying harlots? How did we go from ‘believing women’ to cheering their humiliation?”
“This kind of voyeuristic and sensationalistic celebrity treatment further normalizes abuse and undermines victims of intimate partner violence, especially those who happen to be women.”
The case was brought forth by Mr. Depp because he felt Ms. Heard was defaming his name and character by saying she was a domestic abuse survivor. Although he wasn’t named personally, it was implied that Depp was the abuser. While some are describing the situation as if Heard was the only victim, as the weeks-long trial continued, viewers learned of the alleged abuse at the hands of Heard, including an incident where she reportedly threw a bottle that severed her partner’s finger.
Since this is, in essence, a character trial, we have to wonder what the outcome will mean to the celebrities. Entertainment and criminal defense lawyer Michael Mandell spoke with Cosmopolitan UK and asked whether Depp was more concerned about being able to tell his story than actually winning the lawsuit. He opined, “Doubtlessly, a scenario exists where Depp loses his case and Heard loses her counterclaim. That would be a win and a loss for both although perhaps, ultimately, Depp can live with being viewed as an unhealthy partner, but not a person who would physically harm a significant other.”
So what happens to the actors once the courtroom circus is over? Some suggest both are doomed to be outcast by Hollywood because of the messy scandal. Entertainment agent Darryl Marshak thinks that, at first, some studios might be hesitant to hire the controversial actors. However, he said, “Hollywood is also forgiving and as it moves forward and this thing stops airing and Johnny is able to move fluidly back into the business, I think he’ll reemerge again. Hollywood is a fickle place.”