Johnny Depp defamation verdict seen as signaling an end to the ‘#MeToo’ era

After a highly publicized and dramatic trial, a jury sided with actor Johnny Depp in his defamation case against ex-wife Amber Heard.

The verdict is widely being seen by commentators across the political spectrum as a seismic shift away from the “#MeToo” era of automatically trusting women who make accusations of assault, Breitbart reported.

Depp verdict signals cultural shift

There were signs of a cultural tide turning as the trial played out, with public opinion on social media decidedly in favor of Depp. Heard was often ridiculed online as a phony who was putting on a show for the jury.

At the center of the dispute was a 2018 Washington Post op-ed published at the height of the #MeToo movement, in which Heard alluded to being abused by Depp. It came to light in court that the op-ed was written by the left-wing American Civil Liberties Union. Depp argued the piece ended his career.

Heard, who received $2 million in her countersuit, said the verdict awarding Depp $15 million was a loss not for her personally, but for all women, a view echoed by sympathetic liberal commentators in the Guardian, the New York Times, and elsewhere.

But many others saw the result as an overdue correction to a culture of accepting ruinous, life-changing accusations at face value.

“#MeToo has been used as a weapon and finally women are learning that they will be held liable for false statements against innocent men,” commentator Carmine Sabia tweeted.

Did one woman bring #MeToo to an end?

Depp accused Heard of being abusive toward him in turn and severing his middle finger by throwing a vodka bottle at him. He rejected her allegations of abuse, including that he sexually assaulted her with a liquor bottle, as “insane.”

Heard’s exaggerated, frequently contradictory, and sometimes absurd testimony did her few favors with the jury, and some #MeToo supporters have blamed her for damaging the movement’s credibility.

When Depp accused Heard of leaving human poop in his bed, she blamed a pet Yorkie who she said developed a life-long bowel problem from eating Depp’s marijuana as a puppy. The court also listened to a recording of Heard taunting Depp to “tell the world” that she abused him. An entertainment journalist for TMZ said that Heard staged a photo-op to display an alleged bruise.

After the verdict was read, Depp expressed relief and gratitude to the jury for giving him his “life back” after he was smeared with “false, very serious and criminal allegations.”

“I am truly humbled,” he said.

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