https://www.flickr.com/photos/tonyshek/21268540588 Depp & Heard

Depp and Heard: what’s going on?

Johnny Depp is best known for playing unforgettable characters such as Edward Scissorhands and Willy Wonka. However, for the past few years he has been busy trying to maintain his innocence in light of allegations made by his ex-wife, Amber Heard. The actress, best known for her role as Mera in Aquaman and Justice League, alleges abuse at the hands of Depp whilst he claims that abuse was experienced both ways.

Last year, Depp filed a $50 million lawsuit against Heard for defamation. The suit argues that “Ms. Heard is not a victim of domestic abuse, she is a perpetrator”. The suit comes after the couple’s highly publicised divorce proceedings saw Heard file for a restraining order against Depp, accuse him of verbal and physical abuse, and claim the actor’s self-confessed problems with drugs and alcohol incite aggressive behaviour. While this lawsuit continues, the Pirates of the Caribbean star is simultaneously embroiled in another libel case against The Sun newspaper for a 2018 article they published calling him a “wife beater”.

The warring actors’ divorce was finalised in 2017 yet, after over three years, their animosity rages on

Depp has fired back at the allegations against him with equally damaging accusations against Heard including similar counts of abuse. Due to the various claims made by each party, the truth seems to have been lost among contradictory testaments and conditional evidence. The warring actors’ divorce was finalised in 2017 yet, after over three years, their animosity rages on.

The media has had a major role in magnifying and skewing the convoluted the stories of both Johnny Depp and Amber Heard. The constant stream of information and updates has made the drama not only riveting, but confusing. The allegations made against both Depp and Heard are potentially career-ruining and therefore we have to assume that they will do everything they can to protect their self-interests.

As a consequence of his alleged crimes and subsequent public judgement, Depp has seemingly lost his role as Captain Jack Sparrow in the Pirates of the Caribbean series. Instead, Disney is moving forward with a spin-off starring Margot Robbie. Perhaps his most iconic role to date, Disney’s decision to let dial back Depp’s involvement and move the series in a new direction is a bold statement. It not only shows the true condemnation of a man who hasn’t been found guilty in a court of law, it also shows the power of publicised allegations and the redundancy of ‘innocent until proven guilty’. Jack Sparrow and Pirates of the Caribbean are essentially synonymous with one another so Depp’s benching suggests Disney are taking these allegations very seriously.

Heard, on the other hand, hasn’t faced repercussions over the allegations of abuse Depp has made towards her, and remains set to star in the sequel to Aquaman. Surely if Heard gets to keep her role, Depp should be allowed to keep his role as Jack Sparrow? After all, at this point in time, all of the evidence that has been presented seems to suggest that they’re as bad as one another. With that in mind, they should both be treated in the same manner.

Surely if Heard gets to keep her role, Depp should be allowed to keep his role as Jack Sparrow?

When speaking about domestic abuse allegations, it’s important to be sensitive. The media’s scrutiny of both Depp and Heard isn’t helping the truth prevail and neither are Depp and Heard’s contradictory statements and evidence. It may sound cynical, but both of these people are actors. If they want to lie, they’re very well equipped to do it. We shouldn’t take sides in this particular case because visual and audio evidence has shown us that they are both at fault. Despite this, we seem to desire a definitive answer to a hard question; who is more at fault?

Cancel culture thrives in situations like these and I know that the outcome of these lawsuits will see either Depp or Heard made into a pariah within their industry. Instead, I would argue it would be more productive for us to accept the faults and mistakes of the celebrities we place on a pedestal and hope that they find the help they need.

This scandal has been an education in how dangerous a toxic relationship can be and the long-lasting effects it can have. Neither Johnny Depp nor Amber Heard are perfect. They have both suffered at the hands of one another and at the hands of the media and public. Until we have a clear view of the truth, it is best for all of us to reserve judgement and remain neutral.

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