Why is Amber Heard still getting work despite her proven abuse of Johnny Depp?
By Craig Allan, Staff Writer
When it comes to domestic violence in the era of #MeToo, it normally follows a familiar pattern. Someone, usually a man, is accused of domestic violence, few people come to his defence, and if that man is a high-profile person his entire life and reputation can be ruined before they are even sentenced with a crime; the court of public opinion tends to be reactive and moves fast. However, in the case of the relationship between actors Johnny Depp and Amber Heard, that structure did not seem to occur.
For the last few years, Depp and Heard have been engaged in a torrid back and forth consisting of accusations and claims of domestic violence. There was an incident in 2016, in which Heard accused Depp of throwing a cell phone at her and bruising her eye. This, along with other events like allegations that Heard is… a little messy in bed, has led to the divorce of Depp and Heard, and began a long battle between the two of them, with Heard claiming that Depp abused her. Unlike in other cases where men have been accused of domestic abuse, there seemed to be a different aura around Depp in this case. He was being supported, and had his character advocated for by everyone from his friends, like actor Paul Bettany, and even his ex-wife Vanessa Paradis. Along with this, he was still getting roles in big tent pole films like the Harry Potter spinoff Fantastic Beasts series. His career was not unscathed by the events, but he was not blacklisted like others who have been accused of crimes like this.
While Depp’s career was taking a hit, Heard’s career was blossoming. She was getting more roles and recognition, and achieved her highest role yet as the character of Mera in Aquaman and the great DC Extended Universe. She went on to become very influential in the women’s rights movement, becoming an ambassador of women’s rights for American Civil Liberties Union, and writing a piece for the Washington Post about abuse she had suffered throughout her life. In 2020 though, new videos and evidence has surfaced that may have unveiled the more insidious and deceptive role Heard had played in the dispute. Back in February, a video from 2015 was released that showed Heard admitting that she hit Depp, with her arguing that hitting is not the same as punching or slapping, and seemingly mocking him for being weak. Depp has also accused her of “painting on” bruises to substantiate her claims of abuse.
Before I go any further with my opinion, I must say that I am not a fan of Amber Heard. Not because of her accusations but because I never really thought she was a good actor. I always thought she was more of a pretty face than an actual talent, and the fact that she was always paired with old or “out of her league in real life” co-stars like Nicolas Cage and Seth Rogan didn’t help those matters. I am not a casting director though, so my views may not be the consensus, but I think it’s important to ask the question of why is Amber Heard not being cancelled by the court of public opinion when there is clear audio of her abusing someone? The fact that Heard has been caught on tape abusing her spouse is made worse by the fact that she has been declared an ambassador against domestic violence, and has written pieces painting herself as the victim. Why is her career not more affected by these accusations than what seems to be happening to Depp?
As of the writing of this piece, Heard’s role in the Aquaman sequel is still intact, and I am still seeing her in ads for L’orèal on TV. The tape of her admitting to abuse came out over two months ago. Why has nothing changed? My best guess is the role that double standards play in our society. If she were a man, she would have been blackballed from the industry as hastily as possible, but because she is a woman, and a hot woman at that, she has been able to skate by. I feel like in the world now we have this mentality that men are the only ones who are capable of domestic violence because they are bigger and stronger by nature, and while male cases of domestic violence are more prevalent in society, violence enacted by anyone should not be tolerated.
Heard needs to be dropped to show that violence is never acceptable for any person or creed. Children look up to superheroes, and Warner Bros. is doing no favours for the audience by keeping Heard in the franchise.