In 2019, Johnny Depp launches a lawsuit against Amber Heard for defamation. This is because in 2018, she wrote an opinion piece in the American newspaper the Washington Post, in which she said she was a victim of domestic violence. According to Depp, that wasn’t true.
According to Éducaloi, “defamation is when statements are made that damage the honour or reputation of another person. In the case of Depp v. Heard, the jury found that Amber Heard had lied about being a victim of domestic violence and that she had acted “with malicious intent.
Depp also defamed
Although the jury found in favor of Johnny Depp, the actor was also found to have defamed Amber Heard. Depp had said that the actress’ sexual abuse allegations were a “stunt” in the English newspaper the Daily Mail in 2020.
A jury not isolated
In some trials, members of a jury must be behind closed doors. They must remain in one place until the end of the deliberations and are not allowed to read the news. The jury is isolated so as not to influence its decision. Thus, it relies solely on the evidence presented in court. In this case, the jury was not cut off from the outside world.
A problematic verdict?
The jury must be impartial, i.e. not biased. Since the jury was not isolated, some legal experts questioned the validity of the verdict. In the media, it was almost impossible not to come across content about the trial. The impartiality of the jury is therefore being questioned.
The trial was ultra-mediatized, i.e. it was widely discussed in the media and on social networks. It was possible to watch the trial live, something that is not accepted everywhere. In Canada, cameras are rarely allowed to film a trial.
Online, the support for Johnny Depp was much greater than that for Amber Heard. On TikTok, the keyword #JusticeforJohnnyDepp was viewed 19.4 billion times, compared to 73.2 million for the keyword #JusticeforAmberHeard.
Danger for the victims
Many experts are concerned that the trial and its over-mediatization will have negative consequences for people who are victims of domestic violence. These experts believe that the trial was treated as entertainment and that a lot of misinformation about domestic violence was circulated online.