Bros Before Bruises: The Johnny Depp Defense League
According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. That’s 10 million people. One in three women is a victim of physical violence by a partner.
But when we like the man being accused, suddenly, statistics are phony, victims are liars and women are manipulative bitches.
That is the ever-present narrative, today starring the Johnny Depp defense league, consisting of his friends, employees, and ex-wife. There’s comedian Doug Stanhope, who wrote a lengthy defense for The Wrap that sounds just like every other male friend coming to the defense of every male accused of abuse. And, as LaineyGossip notes, has a book out right now with a forward written by Johnny Depp. He also tweeted this after the Daniel Tosh rape joke controversy:
There are the bodyguards, literally on Depp’s payroll, refuting Heard’s story.
There’s TMZ pulling every possible stunt to discredit Heard.
There’s Terry Gilliam, Johnny’s longtime friend and director, who posted this on Facebook:
Gilliam has a history of defending the behavior of his (male) friends to the vilification of the women involved. This is how he spoke of Michelle Williams after Heath Ledger died:
In any event, Ledger and Williams separated for good in the summer of 2007, while he was making The Dark Knight. Some press accounts blamed Ledger, citing heavy drinking and hard-drug use, including cocaine and heroin. A video clip even surfaced purportedly showing him snorting what looks like coke and saying, “My girlfriend is going to fucking kill me.”
According to Pecorini, “Heath was always blaming himself, asking, What did I do wrong?” Adds Gilliam, “Because he’s a much nicer person than I am, he really thought he could do the right thing. He was trying to be decent and graceful, give her whatever she wanted—the house, every fucking thing. But once it started going south, it went very quickly. He was overwhelmed by lawyers, and there were more and more of them, as if they were end it. Get out—it’s bad. You’ve got to just walk away from it.’ The stakes kept going up. He wouldn’t listen to any of us.”
Above all else, Ledger was devoted to his young daughter and feared he might lose custody. “He was absolutely obsessed about Matilda,” Gilliam continues. “Before we started shooting [Doctor Parnassus], he literally put her in a backpack, got on the tube, and would come up to my house. It was wonderful.” According to the director, “The thing that really made Heath snap” was legal wrangling over Matilda. “He said, ‘Just fuck all of you! I’m not giving Michelle anything.’” Recalls another source, when it came to Matilda’s care, “there were definitely heated conversations, and emotions were high.” (Ledger’s lawyer declined to comment on any aspect of the separation or custody dispute.)
You will note every person coming to Depp’s defense thus far has a financial vested interest in protecting Depp.
Men (and women too sometimes) will bend over backwards to defend other men from being portrayed in any remotely negative light. Why is it so much easier to believe women are liars than to believe that men can be monsters? It took more than 20 women and 45 years for anyone to finally believe the stories about Bill Cosby. People still defend and work with Woody Allen.
And Johnny Depp will be fine. Amber Heard’s career is probably done. So ask yourself how worth it lying truly is. If she had just made this whole thing up, faked it all, how would it be worth it?
The righteous indignation of those accusing Heard of being a slap in the face to “real” victims is most upsetting. Because what is this doing to those “real” victims besides pointing out to them all the reasons their story isn’t as believable as his? Because the experience of his golf buddies is considered as true and important as your bruises. Because his boss likes him, so you must have deserved it. Because he’s nice to children, he doesn’t get drunk and high and punch walls in private.
Because there are more pictures. This is today’s People Magazine cover, with an image Heard says is from December. And Heard says she has video, too. Is it seriously more likely to you that she beat herself up like goddamn Jim Carrey in Liar, Liar, or that the man with the long history of violence and jealousy beat his wife, that the professional actor can fake it well in public and lose his shit in private?
This faux concern for victims, this tearing down of all women who don’t fit the exact mold of what a victim should be, this need to defend accusers who aren’t easily identifiable to the naked eye as monsters, this is a problem.