We have seen many gender-based violence claims over the years, whether local or international. Some Hollywood stars continue an amazing career, while Chris Brown, R-Kelly and others fail depending on the degree of such violence. This July, a British publication has taken centre stage with a domestic abuse headline that might change Hollywood and our view of gender-based violence completely.
The Mad Hatter, Captain Jack Sparrow, and Edward Scissorhands are all the names associated with one American male actor, Johnny Depp. John Christopher Depp has been under major scrutiny since The Sun (UK) published a 2018 article titled ‘’Gone Potty: How can JK Rowling be genuinely happy casting ‘wife beater’ Johnny Depp in new Fantastic Beasts Film?’’
The Sun (UK) is being sued by Johnny Depp for the defamation of character in the 2018 article. The trial began on the 7th of July 2020 and has been awaiting a verdict since the 28th of July 2020. The trial focused on Johnny’s ex-wife, Amber Heard, who acts as the publications’ key witness of fourteen claimed domestic allegations against Johnny and the supposed reason for the title ‘wife beater’.
Johnny’s ‘wife beater’ title is not an unknown title for alleged male abusers in Hollywood. Even male actor Charlie Sheen has had his moments with domestic abuse headlines and overcame them. For Johnny, this has caused the actor a loss in jobs, the removal of his name in the Disney franchise and has slowly ruined his reputation as a male working in Hollywood. The article has affected everything on screen and off screen as his children struggle to defend their father’s name.
Uniquely, a hashtag fighting for justice of the alleged ‘wife beater’ has grown and continues to fight for the male of this story. #JusticeForJohnnyDepp has been trending on social media since the beginning of the trial and this stems from Johnny’s legal team who have provided multiple witnesses and testimonies supporting his ‘incredibly loving’ ways. This includes his celebrity ex-girlfriends Winona Ryder and Vanessa Paradis who have stated that this claim made by The Sun and Amber Heard are ‘‘horrific’’ as they both felt ‘very safe with him’.
The trial has unravelled many of the blurred lines between the alleged victim, Amber Heard, and alleged abuser Johnny Depp with his legal team asking the question ‘what if these roles were reversed?’.
The #MeToo movement has been surprisingly quiet. Previously they have been a big help for other well-known abuse trials such as the Harvey Weinstein trial in March 2020. However, we cannot be sure that this movement will make as big an impact as it did for the now guilty sexual film producer, Harvey Weinstein.
The #MeToo movement founded back in 2017, focuses on individuals who have been under gender-based violence crimes, so where are they now? Their goal is to provide victims with the resources to get their voices out of the shadows and into the light of justice, and indeed Harvey Weinstein’s case impacted a magnum level but, should the number matter?
With both legal teams currently awaiting their verdict by Mr Justice Nicol, the #JusticeForJohnnyDepp supporters have grown and are challenging domestic abuse claims and gender stereotypes worldwide. It is ordinary people who are telling stories based on Johnny and Amber’s trial, seemingly to be hoping for a flip in mindset regarding stereotypical victims and abusers.
Wondering whether this fifty-seven-year-old male is the abuser in this case, has caused major debates and is on-going. For the past few years, we have forgotten about the stereotypes surrounding men and women in abusive and highly toxic relationships. We have focused too much on the rigid view that movements and the media present. While Hollywood waits for a verdict, we wait for mindsets to change and violent stereotypes to come to an end.