A theory about why Amber Heard lost public sympathy for standing against Depp's abuse

The Editors
·2-min read
Photo credit: Anadolu Agency
Photo credit: Anadolu Agency

From Harper's BAZAAR

The negative public treatment of Amber Heard when she stood against Johnny Depp's domestic abuse is proof of the biases that still exist about the type of woman who deserves legal protection, says Helena Kennedy QC. The leading barrister met the actress during the trial period.

Heard was subjected to death threats and misogynistic attacks on social media during the trial in July. Depp lost a legal battle with The Sun, after the tabloid called him a "wife beater" in 2018. On Monday, 2 November, a court found that the publication was justified in using the term given the evidence.

“There are still these pervasive myths about the kind of woman who deserves the protection of the law,” Lady Kennedy told The Guardian. “Battered women have to [seem] meek and subservient to have our sympathy.

“I have represented women who have put up with this but when they do resist they somehow [are deemed to] lose their right to [compassion]. There’s no doubt that Amber Heard did … resist but that does not make her certifiable.”

Kennedy met Heard at a dinner at the home of novelist Kathy Lette in July. Heard’s lawyer, Jennifer Robinson, who was also invited asked if she could bring her client because she was feeling "pretty down and beleaguered".

"She had been receiving threats all the way through the hearing and that was one of the reasons she was feeling low," said Kennedy. "This is the other thing that women have to contend with, the misogyny of online attacks."

Depp has continued to receive support from both the public and celebrity peers, including JK Rowling, Vanessa Paradis and Javier Bardem, despite Heard's abuse claims.

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