One Little Lie
Six years ago, on May 27th, at the height of the MeToo movement, news broke that Johnny Depp’s then-wife arrived, with a bruise on her face, at a courthouse in LA where she requested and obtained a restraining order against him.
The press went crazy covering this ‘story’. The public breathed a collective gasp – some in shock that Hollywood bad-boy, Johnny Depp, who had in the past been known to trash hotel rooms and ‘threaten’ paparazzi, had gone so far as to beat his wife, and some in shock that a woman would have the audacity to accuse one of the greatest actors of our time, a man with a reputation for being the ‘nicest guy in Hollywood’ and for defending his family against intrusive paparazzi behaviors, of hitting her when he’d never been accused of violence against a partner in all his decades in public life.
The History of the Man
And then there were some who had been fans of Johnny Depp since his beginnings in Hollywood in the 1980’s, who panicked in a moment of utter confusion, thinking, “Oh no, Johnny, what did you do?”
True confession here, and full disclaimer: I am one of the latter.
On the surface I could not, did not, and would not believe Johnny Depp had it in him to strike his partner. I’d been a fan for years, through his long-term relationships with Winona Ryder, Kate Moss, and Vanessa Paradis. Not one of those strong, beautiful, and famous women had ever made those claims against him. Not one of them had ever been seen in public with bruises during their time with him, not one of them hinted at being afraid of him despite his obvious proclivity for alcohol, drugs and colorful language.
The only claims against this man were made from paparazzi when he defended Vanessa from a mob of them while she was pregnant, and from a set-hand on City of Lies whose accusation that Johnny punched him fell apart when pictures of the guy smiling with Johnny, taken only hours after the alleged incident, surfaced with the caption “It’s a wrap”, and when an assistant stated she had 40 time-stamped photos of the interaction between the two men that clearly proved Johnny did NOT assault anyone.
But there was a photo of a bruise on Johnny’s ex’s face. There was a restraining order.
With a hammering heart, I read everything I could about what was going on. I knew nothing about his then-wife. I knew only that she was young and beautiful, and that during his time with her, he’d begun to age and fade before our eyes.
Two of Johnny’s long-term partners came forward immediately to defend him. Vanessa, his partner of 14 years, wrote a public letter:
Winona Ryder, his partner of 4 years, released a statement as well:
But…what about Me…Too
But this was the MeToo era. Several of my own tweets included the hashtag “MeToo” because, well, me too. We were supposed to “believe women”. Right? We were supposed to hold men accountable after eons of their abuse.
Unfortunately, believing all women and vilifying all men allowed false accusations to fly without accountability, and for innocent men to be canceled without second thought.
Society was in fear of defending an accused man. Actress, Olivia Munn posted a photo to Instagram of her and Johnny from the set of Mordecai and was so instantly and overwhelmingly attacked that she deleted the post.
CAPTAIN Jack Sparrow
The “politically correct” thing to do was to distance yourself from him, not show any level of support, no matter what you knew to be true about the man, no matter how much faith you had in his innocence and no matter how much money he’d made for you during the years you worked alongside him – yes, I’m looking at you, Disney.
And, while that man remained silent, apparently hoping the lie about him would be exposed before hell consumed the common sense of the masses, his value continued to be whittled away.
Finally, he spoke out in an article printed in GQ. Immediately, vermin scurried out of the woodwork, vermin including his ex whom Johnny was now suing for defamation after she doubled down on her accusation by posting an article in the Washington Post where she declared herself a ‘victim of sexual violence’.
Interestingly, Johnny didn’t initiate his own defense for himself. He did it after someone else who stood up for him was attacked after being publicly mocked in a rag publication for supporting him.
I, Johnny Depp, a man…
Johnny filed a defamation suit in the UK against Dan Wootton and The Sun for their ‘wife-beater’ article. It’s interesting that his ex chose to be a witness for the defense during that trial, seeming eager to air all the dirty details about her relationship with Johnny, or more like all the dirt she’d learned about Johnny, an otherwise very private man, during her time with him.
As news trickled out from court observers, key bits of her ‘evidence’ against Johnny started to fall apart. Timelines didn’t add up, her witness statements changed multiple times, each seemingly after proof the statement was false had come to light.
Little by little these contradictions and impossibilities from Johnny’s accuser filtered into the public arena. Damning audio recordings were released where confessions of abuse were made – though not confessions by Johnny, but to Johnny, by his accuser.
WARNING – Uncensored Expletives in audio
It took a while, but eventually more and more people, rightfully, began to question his ex’s validity and her accusations against him. People otherwise on the fence started to question themselves and their stance on this. Believe all women? Or…believe all ‘victims’? Because evidence now pointed to accuser as perpetrator and accused as survivor.
Lying liars lie
Johnny’s defamation case against his ex took years to get to court, in part, due to a 2-year COVID delay. By this time, more audio recordings had been released showing his ex to be a liar. Photographs and videos revealed flawless skin a day after other photographs displayed bruise-like marks on her face…
Or, as in this video, which was, per her timeline, the day after she had suffered an assault that left her with broken bones, black eyes, a busted lip, and bruised ribs.
Backstory is Key
Johnny Depp is nearly 60 years of age. In the 40 years he’s been in the public eye, he has never had an accusation of domestic violence lodged against him. His ex, now in her mid-thirties, had already been arrested for domestic violence against a former partner several YEARS before she and Johnny started their relationship, when she was only in her 20’s.
As millions of people who are and have been aware of the facts in this case, I believe Johnny is innocent, and I believe his ex is a liar. That belief was merely strengthened by the testimonies given these last six weeks as Johnny’s defamation case was live-streamed everywhere. For the past six years, and still as I sit here now, I believe she saw in Johnny the perfect man. The perfect target. A handsome, world-famous, rich, powerful…and nice…man. A man with addictions that could be exploited. A man, who when brought to his knees by accusations in the time of MeToo would make his accuser famous. Forever.
She would be the woman who was so strong, so resilient, that she overcame the greatest odds and single-handedly took down one of the world’s most beloved celebrities. She’d be the darling of the MeToo movement, all sorts of valuable opportunities would come her way, she’d be a household name after making a name for herself off of his, she’d be powerful and rich. And he would simply fade away despite his evidence that she, not he, was the abuser in their relationship, and that he, not she, was the victim.
No One is Safe
I have no idea how the jury will decide, though I do have hope that after hearing how often and how deliberately his ex and her hoax-partners lied, under oath, and how poor her acting was while she attempted to play a ‘victim’ while in the witness box, they’ll realize the truth and decide accordingly.
It wasn’t cruel enough that an innocent man was falsely accused of multiple violent assaults against an intimate partner, but his global reputation was sullied and his employment opportunities were obliterated.
One thing his accuser failed to prepare for was her victim’s resilience and the force of his defenders. So many of us were intimately connected to the MeToo movement. So many of us raised our fists in triumph as truly reprehensible predators received due justice. But many of us, I’d like to think most of us, are not so gullible to believe all women at the expense of all men, to believe a woman simply because she’s a woman. The goal should be to listen, to delve deeper and hear all sides before canceling anyone because of someone else’s word.
Not all treasure is silver and gold, mate
If this nightmare has shown us anything, I hope it’s the ease with which grifters will exploit any perceived weakness in those closest to them or even in society as a whole. And even when we’d have to completely suspend disbelief to continue buying their tall tale, they will have become so invested that either they fully believe their own lies or they know that by owning up to them they will finally, ultimately, face our culture’s wrath.
Johnny Depp has now shared the truth for all to see. This man who so valued his privacy has now bared his soul, his secrets, his faults and fears, sharing his truth for all to see and hear. Johnny Depp, a man, finally had the chance to tell the world: MeToo.
It’s up to all of us to listen.