On abuse and justice – Jessica Winter in The New Yorker:
‘Depp’s fifty-million-dollar defamation claim against Heard rests on the first part of one sentence, which she published in an op-ed in the Washington Post in December, 2018: “Then two years ago, I became a public figure representing domestic abuse, and I felt the full force of our culture’s wrath for women who speak out.” It is incontestable that, two years earlier, Heard did indeed appear on the cover of People magazine with apparent facial injuries and that, around the same time, she obtained a temporary restraining order alleging domestic violence against her husband; she was photographed leaving the courthouse with what looked like a bruise on her cheek. She also has a trove of text messages, witness statements, and photos of injuries—which, she says, corroborate her allegations of abuse. The careful legal vetting of her Postop-ed may be evident in the wording: Heard calls herself a “public figure representing” abuse, not a victim or survivor of it; she does not name Depp, nor does she specify a type of abuse. (Depp has denied ever hitting or assaulting Heard; she is countersuing him for a hundred million dollars.)’
‘The precise demographics of the pro-Depp coalition are diverse, if uncertain in their exact proportions: bots, shitposters, men’s-rights activists, women who were in middle school when “Edward Scissorhands” came out. According to Wired, the hashtag #JusticeforJohnnyDepp has surpassed ten billion views on TikTok. Parody videos of Heard’s emotional testimony are already a TikTok cliché.’
‘The longer the trial slogs on, and the more that various third parties profit from it, the more difficult it is to fathom Depp’s motivations for instigating it. He and his supporters say he filed the suit to clear his name, but it has put more terrible behavior of his on the record than any scrubbed and ghostwritten op-ed could do. In fact, if you spend enough time inhaling the sulfurous fumes of the Depp-Heard live stream, what it starts to resemble most is a high-budget, general-admission form of revenge porn, an act in which the person with the upper hand in a relationship forces the other to be complicit in the sharing and dissemination of raw, vulnerable, literally sensational moments for the delectation of an unseen audience. One of the hallmarks of revenge porn is the way it freezes its victim in time, a plight that Heard summoned at the end of her direct examination. “I want to move on with my life,” she said. “I want to move on, I want to move on, I want Johnny to move on, too. I want him to leave me alone.” But the consequences of his legal action against her will never leave her alone. This is who she is now—the victim of an unprecedented Internet pile-on, a bruised face on an iPhone, a woman who makes people laugh when she cries.’
Read the comment here.
Democracy is theater, sometimes theater of questionable quality, justice can be spectacle. At least since O.J. Simpson this should have been common knowledge.
The sad part is that the woman once ‘representing domestic abuse’ or claiming to represent it is now representing something completely else. Not that I don’t sympathize with her or that I cannot sympathize with Depp, to be honest I’m less intrigued with this case than apparently many other lovers of this specific sort of ‘revenge porn.’
Domestic abuse, sexual abuse, if a celeb, local or not, is involved, it will get some attention.
If not, most people will be as indifferent as they’ve always been.
The devil is in the details, and so is change.