Amber Heard is the wrong kind of victim for Hollywood
And the media is willing to throw her under the bus because of it
Despite repeatedly identifying itself as a bastion of liberal progressivism and acceptance, Hollywood has revealed its true, dichotomous hypocrisy in its treatment of actress Amber Heard.
If you’ve been living under a rock for the last three months, here’s a quick refresher: Heard, 30, filed for divorce from prolific actor Johnny Depp, 53, on May 23, just two days after Heard called 911, alleging that Depp committed domestic battery and assault against her. Heard obtained a temporary restraining order against Depp, providing photographic evidence of the his assault. Depp and his equally famous inner circle refuted the claims, attempting to deflect attention to the recent death of Depp’s mother and paint Heard as a social climbing gold digger.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge proponent of due process. I believe the the innocent until proven guilty standard is the bedrock of a fair justice system, but Hollywood’s immediate jump to Depp’s defense is, quite frankly, disturbing as it is revealing.
To the outside observer, Heard has been the perfect plaintiff, providing evidence and documentation of the abuse while remaining as mum as possible to the media. I’m certainly not saying that the press should immediately brand Depp guilty— as it has the unsavory tendency of doing whenever it fits a narrative — but the eerily consistent talking points painting Heard, who is already a rising star in her own right, as an unstable, gold digging, social climbing flake reveals a truth that Hollywood has cleverly concealed until now: Hollywood accepts one kind of victim, and Heard does not fit that bill.
Defying mainstream Hollywood leftism, Heard has publicly expressed libertarian sentiments and an affection for Ayn Rand, telling USA Today, “I’ve read all of her books. Ever since then, I have been obsessed with her ideals. All I’ve ever needed is myself.” This assertion of individualism is a remarkably courageous stand against the unilateral leftism of Hollywood, one that reflects an exceptional degree of confidence given the fact that she said this in 2007, long before she became an A-list star.
In the hierarchy of oppression, Heard ranks close to the bottom as a traditionally beautiful white girl from a Red state. She’s bisexual, which one would be forgiven for assuming would place her a little ahead in the oppression Olympics. But it turns out when sexual fluidity is just a preference and not a talking point, Hollywood is less likely to run to your defense.
Case in point, Depp’s daughter, model/actress Lily-Rose became the subject of dozens of media circle-jerks disguised as think pieces “because she falls somewhere on the vast spectrum.” She later, to a much more minor media reception, clarified that she didn’t mean to say that she wasn’t straight, just that there are a lot of possible other sexualities.
Heard, who actually embodies one of those less prevalent sexualities, has had her past hurled against her as a sign of flakiness by TMZ and other tabloid giants.
“‘Ear-witnesses’ say she’s a liar — Johnny wasn’t near her,” reported TMZ, citing “sources connected to the case.” Another headline declares, “Cops say no evidence of injuries,” without naming a single on the record source. While TMZ does often rely on anonymous tips to break stories, they usually can provide on-the-record verification a few days later. But in the heard case, nothing. Just “sources close to Johnny.”
And let’s not pretend for a second that this is about due process. TMZ practically wet itself with excitement, reporting that Heard was charged with domestic violence against her former girlfriend Tasya van Ree in 2009. Yet van Ree came out publicly defending Heard against the charges, stating, “Amber was wrongfully accused for an incident that was misinterpreted and over-sensationalised by two individuals in a power position.” No splashy TMZ headline followed. Therefore, the TMZ modus operandi clearly doesn’t revolve around innocent until proven guilty.
Perhaps the same drive to defend the (formerly) beloved Bill Cosby from his dozens of rape allegations is also motivating the media’s leap to defend Depp, who has been a household name longer than I’ve been alive. But the media didn’t lambast Cosby’s victims with the same ferocity with which they are currently slamming Heard.
While reporting in May focused Heard’s financial state, with The Wrap publishing a piece literally entitled, “Johnny Depp Is Being Blackmailed by Amber Heard — Here’s How I Know,” the press has quietly glossed over Depp’s own stonewalling of court proceedings for the sake of his financial privacy.
People magazine reported last week that Depp’s team has requested that pending financial statements and witness statements remain confidential, yet in his official response to Heard’s allegations, Depp’s lawyer, Laura Wasser said, “Amber is attempting to secure a premature financial resolution by alleging abuse.” If there were any logical validity to this initial claim, wouldn’t Depp want his supposedly stellar finances and Heard’s reportedly lacking ones to enter the public domain?
I say none of this to assert that Depp is guilty. Heard will give her deposition this Saturday, and hopefully the justice system will carefully examine the evidence and come to a sound conclusion. But the fact remains that the media has unfairly targeted Heard for reasons which wildly transcend an allegiance to due process, setting a harmful precedent for victims of sexual and domestic assault who do not follow a solitary mold.