Trapped in Amber

The "war between the sexes" shouldn't be as vicious as it's become.

Reactions to the recent Johnny Depp versus Amber Heard libel trial were more interesting than the trial itself.  Although the testimony got lurid at times, they seem to be an ordinarily dysfunctional couple who give each other a hard time, except that they have enough money and big enough fan bases to publicize their dysfunction widely.

The Epoch Times summarized the case:

Depp recently sued his ex-wife, Amber Heard, over a 2018 op-ed she wrote in The Washington Post. In that particularly explosive piece, Heard painted herself as a victim of domestic and sexual abuse. Depp sued Heard for defamation. On June 1, jurors awarded Depp $15 million in damages.

Their article didn't note that Ms. Heard had counter-sued and the jury awarded her $5 million to compensate her for damages by Mr. Depp.

So far, so banal, but the trial illuminated some interesting facts.

For one thing, Amber Heard didn't actually write the libelous WaPo op-ed that was published under her name, it was ghost-written for her by Robin Shulman, an ACLU communications strategist.  The ACLU is remembered for standing up for the right of Nazi sympathizers to march in Skokie, Illinois despite their having been refused a parade permit by the authorities.  The principle at the time was that, no matter how abhorrent a particular viewpoint is, any American has an absolute right to express it.  We loathe and despise Nazis as much as anyone, but in this the ACLU was right - Nazis do, and should, have a right to peacefully present their reprehensible rubbish, the better so that sane people can peacefully refute it.

Alas, the ACLU has recently backed off their earlier position supporting the right to speak in unpopular ways.  It's not clear that their donors will understand how writing an op-ed about domestic violence fulfills their charter, even had it not been libelous, but they seem to have thought it would.  The article seems to have been timed to increase societal awareness of Amber Heard, whose movie Aquaman - which should perhaps have been called Aquaperson given that she's no man although certainly all wet - was about to be released.

A Chilling Effect?

When the verdict was announced, NBC News published an anguished article bemoaning the supposed fact that Ms. Heard being held liable for libeling Mr. Depp would make abused women even more afraid to complain about being abused, especially abused women of color:

The jury awarded Depp his millions in damages despite the compelling evidence put forth by Heard's legal team, including testimony from multiple witnesses, photos of the bruises Heard sustained and text messages and video and audio that captured Depp's erratic and aggressive behavior. The unanimous verdict meant that jury members declined to substantiate any of her claims[emphasis added]

Indeed, the jury's failure to find Heard's multiple, documented allegations of abuse credible points to an ongoing culture that does not believe women, including not only Heard but also her sister, her make-up artist, actress Ellen Barkin, and even the couple's own therapist, who testified that there was "mutual abuse" in their relationship. Heard, who is rich, white, and a celebrity who was able to hire expensive lawyers to defend her in Depp's defamation suit, was still failed and villainized in a court of law.  [emphasis added]

The claim that the jury "declined to substantiate any of her claims" and "does not believe women" is yet another MSM lie.  The jury awarded Ms. Heard $5 million!  The jury accepted Ms. Heard's assertion that there was "mutual abuse" - indeed, $5 million worth in one direction and $15 million in the other.

The trial wasn't about abuse, it was about libel.  Mr. Depp asserted that Ms. Heard's Op Ed had damaged him, he sought compensation, and was awarded $15 million for her damage to his career.  It is hardly the fault of the jury that Mr. Depp's celebrity is so much greater than Ms. Heard's that the financial damages to him were so much greater than the damage to her career.

Separately from the decisions secretly made by the jury, the trial appears to have triggered a social media campaign to damage Ms. Heard.  "The bleak spectacle of the Amber Heard-Johnny Depp trial" gives many details of the conventional "abused victim" role played by Ms. Heard and then describes a frantic Internet campaign looking for any flaws in Amber Heard's testimony under oath to discredit her and to accuse her of perjury.

Regardless of whether you were remotely interested in these people or this trial, your social media feed likely filled up with memes, videos, and audio clips implying that Amber Heard had been caught fabricating evidence and committing perjury. ...

Dozens of Youtubers and Twitch streamers became full-time Amber Heard smear machines, reacting to her testimony in real time and sending their followers onto the Internet to argue with anyone defending her.

The jury wasn't sequestered, the article says, and was probably influenced by all the attacks on social media.  As Yahoo News put it,

Amber Heard says she's a victim, but the public made her a villain. Experts say it's a dangerous moment for domestic violence.

Social media became so critical that Ms. Heard's lawyers accused Mr. Depp's lawyers of orchestrating a smear campaign.  Mr. Depp's lawyers say that Chief Judge White had thrown out claims related to Heard's claim of an online smear campaign "very early in the case."

You Tube quoted Ms. Heard and Digg passed it on:

"Even somebody who is sure I'm deserving of all this hate and vitriol, even if you think that I'm lying, you still couldn't look me in the eye and tell me that you think on social media there's been a fair representation," the actress told Savannah Guthrie.

Why would Ms. Heard think that social media should operate fairly?  Why would anyone think that?  The whole point of "fact" checking, deplatforming, and canceling is to maintain the liberal social media bias at all costs. Fairness isn't even a consideration, in fact, avoiding fairness is the name of the game.

We can understand why Ms. Heard and her lawyers would have trouble understanding why so many Netizens would attack Ms. Heard so viciously, so we will explain their fury.  Consider the fluctuating public perceptions of fraught relationships between men and women:

Believe No Women?

We pointed out in 2017 that for many years, sexual assault had been a Republican-only crime.  In 1998, Sen. Bob Packwood (R-Ore.) was forced to resign from the US Senate because he'd abused many women.  This appears to have been in fact the truth, not a smear campaign, and staunch conservatives as well as liberals can fairly consider Sen. Packwood to have gotten what he deserved for his slimy behavior.

Just a few months later, though, impeachment was initiated against then-President Bill Clinton on well-documented charges of perjury and obstruction of justice: Mr. Clinton had lied about his sexual involvement with a White House intern named Monica Lewinsky and tried to cover up evidence.

In defending her husband, Hillary Clinton spoke of "bimbo eruptions" and "trailer trash."  She suggested that women bring charges in the hopes of being paid off and weren't worthy of being believed.  The Senate refused to convict Mr. Clinton upon impeachment, even though there was ample evidence that he had behaved in much the same way as Senator Packwood who had been forced to resign; the vote was strictly along party lines.

This was typical of the conventional Democrat Privilege of the time.  Democrat President Kennedy's younger brother Senator "Chappaquiddick Ted" not only abused women, he abandoned a young women to die of asphyxiation after running his car off a bridge into a river and was nevertheless widely praised as "the conscience of the Senate."

Me Too

The Me-Too era began with sex abuse accusations against Harvey Weinstein, who was extremely successful at bankrolling profitable movies and persuading the Oscar committee to honor actresses whom he had cast in his films.  Actresses claim that they feared that he would ruin their careers unless they submitted to his demands.  He was such a big-time Democrat donor that President Obama's daughter Malia interned for a summer at his movie studio.

Because of this longstanding practice of holding Republicans responsible for indiscretions against women while giving Democrats a free pass due to "Democrat Privilege," we were amazed when the New York Times published an account of many women complaining that Mr. Weinstein had abused them on Oct. 5, 2017.  In the resulting haste to "believe all women," many men lost their jobs and careers based on accusations of improper behavior toward women.  We hoped at the time that this would lead to better behavior by Democrats, but alas! 'twas not to be.

Some women pushed back.  NBC News reported that "Catherine Deneuve says #MeToo is driven by 'hatred of men'"

The 74-year-old film star warned that the "legitimate protest against sexual violence" stemming from the Harvey Weinstein scandal had gone too far.

A few weeks later, Brigitte Bardot criticized the #MeToo movement to NBC News and said that she has never been a victim of sexual harassment.

In an interview with Paris Match magazine, Bardot asserted that for actresses specifically, "not women in general," "the vast majority of cases" are "hypocritical, ridiculous, without interest." [emphasis added]

Bardot went on to say that actresses "come on" to producers to get roles, "and then, so they'll be talked about, they say they were harassed."

Mr. Weinstein was eventually convicted of having raped several women whom he had helped become successful actresses.  Many of his accusers had sent him affectionate text messages after the event, but the Times Up Foundation asserts that

Doing so [staying in touch] does not mean that the victim 'consented' in any way to the perpetrator's abusive behavior.  In addition, because of the complex ways in which sexual assault and related coercion and abuse exploit power and control - and, thus, undermine victims' self-confidence and self-esteem - many victims struggle to break-off contact.

During the media frenzy when Kobe Bryant was accused of rape by a desk clerk with whom he'd had sexual relations, a friend of ours overheard two young ladies discussing the case.  They agreed that regardless of what had happened the night before, it was rape if the woman didn't feel good about it the next morning.

The Me Too crowd agrees that women can be so powerless in the face of sexual assault that they can't pull themselves away from the abuser!  That's their answer whenever anyone asks why Ms. Heard didn't just walk out - she had enough money to pay for her own apartment but not enough strength of will to walk away from what she described as an intolerably abusive situation.  To be fair, there's supportive evidence for that Me Too assertion in Ms. Heard's interview with Savannah Guthrie.  Ms. Heard said that in spite of everything, she still loved Johnny Depp.

Mr. Depp's problems with alcohol and temper management precede Ms. Heard's involvement with him and radiating charm as required by the script is essential to his professional success.  If women really are that helpless, if they really are that vulnerable to charming men, they should be warned to be very careful about getting emotionally involved with charming guys who may turn out to be nogoodnicks.  That's very old advice.  Several thousand years ago, Proverbs 4:23 advised, "Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life."  Ms. Heard's account of her misery is ample confirmation that this bit of advice is sound indeed.

Believe All Women?

Politics switched instantly from "believe no women" to "believe all women" when Ms. Ford accused Justice Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when they were in high school.  She couldn't remember where the party was, how she got there, or how she got home, but she was utterly certain that Justice Kavanaugh had tried to attack her and the MSM broadcast her accusations as intensely as Mr. Depp's fans broadcast Ms. Heard's inadequacies.

To strengthen their attack against this conservative justice, Democrats proclaimed that all women had to be believed regardless of inconsistencies in their testimony.  In the end, Mr. Kavanaugh was confirmed only because the Democrats has previously abolished the filibuster for judicial appointments, leading the Republicans to abolish it for SCOTUS.

So many more high-level Democrats fell before the Me Too scythe than Republicans that "believe all women" had to be brought to an end.  Senator Corey "Spartacus" Booker (D), a wannabe president, confessed that he'd groped a woman in high school.  Mr. Ellison, the head of the DNC, was credibly accused of abuse with far more evidence than Ms. Ford offered against Justice Kavanaugh.  There were two credible rape accusations against the Democrat Lt. Governor of Virginia.  None of the accusers of important Democrats were believed and these accusations were ignored by the legal system.

"Believe all women" was revived briefly when it became necessary to force Governor Cuomo out of office.  He had ordered his health department to require New York nursing homes to accept infectious Covid patients, resulting in thousands of unnecessary deaths.  Throwing him under the Me Too bus ended the investigation into his cover-up of his abuse of nursing home patients which would have damaged other blue-state governors who'd done the same.

"Believe all women" died formally when Tara Reid's highly credible accusations against presidential candidate Joe Biden were ignored as thoroughly as Hunter Biden's laptop before the 2020 election.  Treating a woman's high-level accusations based on the politics of the person being accused remains the MSM norm.

So What's A Man To Do?

A woman may lie to attack a man.  Western Journal described a case where a woman whose son committed "suicide by cop" claimed to have had an affair with the cop in order to get him in trouble via the state's "red flag" law.  That law permits people who are "close enough" to the person to ask a court to strip the person of firearms with no opportunity for the accused to argue against it.  Such an accusation could destroy a law officer's career just as surely as an accusation of sexual abuse or domestic violence.

The NBC News article cited above argued that "Heard, who is rich, white, and a celebrity who was able to hire expensive lawyers to defend her in Depp's defamation suit, was still failed and villainized in a court of law."  The writer clearly believes that Ms. Heard should have been free to libel Mr. Depp without consequences.  Men who aren't able to hire expensive lawyers can much more easily be victimized by accusations of misbehavior whether true or false.

It's clear from the Duke lacrosse case and Rolling Stone's bogus article "A Rape on Campus" that false rape accusations do immense damage.  It's no surprise that men would start to push back against women who falsely accuse men of misbehavior.

Wired wrote that the trial tweet storm fed well into TikTok's algorithm:

In late April, videos using the hashtag #johnnydepp had 11.3 billion views, and #justiceforjohnnydepp a further 5.6 billion. Now, that's closer to 34.1 billion and 20.4 billion.

We don't know how many people could stir up a 50 billion view TikTok storm if they were attacked - Johnny Depp now has more than 12 million followers - but who knows what might next go viral?  This demonstration of an Internet mob attacking an accuser may make women more reluctant to accuse men in the future.  To the degree that legitimate accusations are discouraged, this is not good.  When men can count on their treating women badly being ignored, our entire society suffers along with the abused women.

We've explained why it's so very hard to settle such "he said, she said" controversies.  Nobody can know how many accusations are true and now many are false.  Juries do the best they can at vast expense, but there are many who support Ms. Heard even though the jury has duly rendered a verdict against her.

Men and women treating each other so badly does not bode well.  The future belongs to those who show up for it.  We've pointed out the obvious fact that women must marry, bear children, and work very hard to raise them to be productive adult taxpayers in order for any society to survive.

Japanese and Korean cultures are doomed because their women are no longer willing to do this.  Educated American women aren't having enough babies to maintain our productive population; our culture is not far behind.

The Depp-Heard fiasco won't help.  A plague on their dysfunctional house - and, as sad as the whole affair has been for both of them personally, it's a calamity writ large right up and down throughout our society.  What's needed is not a change of law, or even a change of venue, but a change of heart.

Will Offensicht is a staff writer for Scragged.com and an internationally published author by a different name.  Read other Scragged.com articles by Will Offensicht or other articles on Society.
Reader Comments

The ACLU is suing Mr. Depp.

ACLU SUES JOHNNY DEPP FOR LEGAL COSTS AFTER BEING DRAGGED INTO AMBER HEARD CASE

https://www.hitc.com/en-gb/2022/05/31/aclu-sues-johnny-depp-for-legal-costs-after-being-dragged-into-amber-heard-case/

The ACLU wants Mr. Depp to reimburse them for the costs of supplying information when Mr. Depp sued his ex-wife for defamation based on an OpEd that the ACLU had ghostwritten for her.

The American Civil Liberties Union are suing American actor Johnny Depp, demanding he pays their legal bills after dragging them into his defamation case against ex-wife Amber Heard, Radar reports.

ACLU refused to voluntarily hand over documents pertaining to the case, so Depp asked a judge to legally compel them to respond and turn over records related to donations made by the actress. Heard had promised to donate $7 million from their divorce settlement to two charities.

After this motion was granted, the organisation has now filed for the Pirates of the Caribbean star to reimburse them for the time taken preparing and submitting the documents.

...

The American Civil Liberties Union has now gone to court demanding that Johnny Depp pay their legal bills. They are filing for the actor to reimburse them $86,253.26 for the time taken preparing and submitting the documents, as shown in a court document obtained by Radar.

Claiming they had to review 7,500 documents and eventually turned over 2,000 documents to comply with a subpoena, the organisation argues that the star should reimburse them for the "considerable expense spent responding to onerous subpoenas served by Mr Depp from an underlying action in which neither the ACLU nor any of its employees are parties."

Further, "the ACLU produced three witnesses-including its Executive Director-for over sixteen hours of depositions. Along the way, Mr. Depp rejected numerous compromises to minimize the burden and expense on the ACLU and its employees."

The ACLU said it has given Depp all the documents he sought and their lawyer argued "while they cannot get back the significant time they spent responding to Mr Depp's subpoenas and the disruption to their work," they are "entitled" to reimbursements.

1) Mr. Depp didn't sue the ACLU for writing the OpEd, but he did ask the judge to compel them to hand over documents about his ex-wife's donations to the ACLU.

2) Complying with a document subpoena can be VERY expensive - the process is the punishment.

3) People have sued SPLC for defamation and won millions.

Would this be a way to wage lawfare against lefties?

July 2, 2022 1:03 AM
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