The lawsuit between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard was technically brought forth by Depp because he said Heard wrongfully defamed his name, costing him to lose valuable movie deals. However, soon after the court trial began, the narrative and the public’s view of it shifted to domestic violence, not defamation. Both parties accused the other of domestic abuse, but the evidence seemed to be stacked against Heard, which quickly caused social media to turn against her, too.
Does the jury ruling in Depp’s favor make it more difficult for women to come forward with claims of domestic violence? Or does the ruling make it easier for men who have been domestically abused to feel comfortable with admitting that they need help?
To get a better understanding of the Heard-Depp trial’s significance, The Observer-Reporter recently interviewed Attorney Robert Peirce of Robert Peirce & Associates, P.C. for legal insight. In the article, which you can read in full by clicking here, Peirce notes how unusual it is for a defamation case to be brought into the civil justice system at all. The fact that domestic violence allegations were wrapped up in defamation accusations made the case even rarer. With these factors considered, it makes the impact of the trial even more difficult to predict.
“I think any time there’s an allegation of domestic abuse and the person who alleges abuse has to deal with a public outcry in such a negative manner, that could have an impact on women or other victims of domestic abuse bringing their allegations forward,” Peirce said in the article. This same concern has been shared by many resources for domestic abuse survivors, like the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV). The #MeToo Movement made strides in helping women report domestic abuse, but Heard’s defeat in court and lambasting online might reverse some of its advances if the public takes the case result as an indication that some or most women lie about domestic abuse allegations. Again, it is important to note that the jury never found that Heard had lied about being abused, it only found that she had defamed Depp.
On the other hand, in the same article, Peirce shared some important knowledge to keep in mind whenever viewing a legal case or courtroom battle from social media: reading a headline or watching a 30-second TikTok about a case does not reveal any real information about it. No matter what had happened at the end of the Heard-Depp trial, most people would draw their own biased conclusions from it because they have no other option when so separated from the evidence and the full stories. With that said, perhaps the best conclusion to draw about the trial’s significance is to not draw any major conclusions at all. Instead, every domestic violence or defamation accusation needs to be taken as they come, free of preconceived expectations, and with the knowledge that the truth of a case can usually only be found in the courtroom, not in a social media post.
If you want to read the full Observer-Reporter article featuring Attorney Robert Peirce, you can click here to visit the newsgroup’s official website. (Log-in or subscription may be required.) If you would like to learn more about Attorney Peirce or Robert Peirce & Associates, P.C., please feel free to contact our firm online.