In May 2022, the internet was very enamoured by a celebrity trial taking place. The two celebrities involved included Amber Heard and Johnny Depp. Depp sued Heard for defamation after suffering a defeat against her and The Sun in Britain. The case was open to the public, thus exposing the accusations to the world of the internet. This, however, seems to be more of a curse than a blessing.
Many individuals online have reacted to the case extremely insensitively. Many have made viral fan edits — which consists of edited videos making fun of several individuals involved in the courtroom — in contrast to recognizing and understanding the severity of this trial and the accusations at hand. Although the case consisted of defamation and where Heard’s money that she pledged to donate after the initial British trial disappeared to, the alleged abuse between the couple became a center point for critics. This is most likely due to the fact that Heard has alleged Depp abused her on many occasions. Recently, however, evidence has emerged that Depp was truly the one being abused all along.
In terms of the internet’s reaction to the case, it was frenzied. Many were quick to jump the gun and branded Heard as an abuser, whilst others were critical of Depp and accused him of being the abuser. However, a blessing from this case was that it shone a light on male abuse victims, calling to action the awareness and protections that should be available for men. An unintended consequence began when misogynists online began calling out the ‘Me-Too Movement,’ claiming that some women have falsely reported abuse taking place in the hands of men. These people believe Heard is guilty of abusing Depp, and because of that, they think that there is an astronomical amount of women who lie about the abuses they face in their everyday lives. We are already seeing this in terms of Marilyn Manson.
Manson has been accused of abuse by Evan Rachel Wood, Ashley Morgan Smithline, Esme Blanco, and another anonymous woman. The ex-girlfriends, in this case, have all filed lawsuits against him and have publicized the alleged abuse that took place. This case appears cut and dry on the surface; however, those scrolling through the internet reading abuse accounts are not judges, nor do they know the real truth behind the situation. The best we can do in these extremely vulnerable circumstances is to believe those who do step forward with their own abuse stories, which involves incredible courage. In the event of these individuals lying and creating false accusations, it is not a reflection on those who supported someone in these difficult times claiming to be a victim of abuse, but rather, it is a reflection on the individual. Thus, it is important to take seriously all claims of abuse, in all situations, to ensure that all victims are properly protected and can seek justice against their perpetrators.