Stop Glamorizing Abusers

Arts & Entertainment

  • Author Laurel Koel
  • Published June 6, 2022
  • Word count 2,971

I don’t personally care about Johnny Depp or Amber Heard — not my circus, not my monkeys. Take some celebrity, toss in a lot of ego and a heaping helping of entitlement, and you get Depp v. Heard. But when I went on TikTok a couple of weeks ago for a little dopamine fix, my “For You Page” was inundated with horrifying clips from both men and women slamming Amber Heard and claiming #justiceforjohnnydepp. Depp’s admitted abuse of drugs, alcohol, Heard and anyone else he felt entitled to brualize seems to be sexy to an absurd number of women, and an opportunity to bash women under the equal-opportunity umbrella for men. I’ll always have a crush on Roux, but I can separate the character from the guy making a disappointing, abusive spectacle of himself in this latest self-destruct phase. But these “fans” were foaming-at-the-mouth crazy, demeaning Heard in every way imaginable (and not being flagged for their own brand of bullying and harassment, gee I wonder why). Has social media successfully diminished heinous criminal behaviour to a who is or isn’t the more adored actor contest? In this non-stop barrage of this social media frenzy I’m seeing the pre-cursor to this week’s senate intent to overturn Roe v. Wade and suddenly abusing women okay again.

Wtf?

After pleading with the virtual TikTok gods out loud to take the Johnny Depp fandom/ Amber Heard slander off my FYP, I decided to take a closer look at what these “fans”” were doing. Whoever paid for this social-media pro-Depp “clean-up on Aisle 5” attempt made this fiasco my circus, and I wasn’t thrilled about it. I was seeing somewhat lucid women demonize Heard, intentionally oblivious to the fact that they were perpetrating the abuse they were spouting had been so unfairly dumped on Depp, but using the characters he’s played as some kind of sexualized validation for his abusive behaviour. Simply put, they were glamorizing abuse through supporting a proud addict/abuser who was hot in a few roles in movies by trying to degrade the actress ex-wife. Let’s be clear that they’re not saying he was a good actor in these roles, they’re saying they were attracted to the characters he played so Heard deserved to be put through this public 3 ring circus Depp’s subjecting her to. It made me wonder how much Depp’s damage control team has been paying so many people to take to social media to try to crush Heard because surely there can’t be this many ignorant people out there. But then it became clear none of this is actually about Depp himself, this weird support is about the characters he’s played in the past. These people are truly screwed up and anything Depp pulls in real life is a-okay to them. Take this, for example: Depp texts his friends, “Let’s burn Amber!!! Let’s drown her before we burn her!!! I will fuck her burnt corpse afterwards to make sure she’s dead.” He read this out in court, and then tried to excuse it claiming that it reavealed the depth of his pain. The frothing fans jumped to Depps defense. These nutbars have deluded themselves into thinking Depp’s admitted abusive behaviour is glamorous and Heard’s abuse is damnable based on the imaginary, not reality.

To witness so many women (and men) en masse attempting to publicly humiliate Amber Heard while ignoring the abhorrent evidence openly admitted to without any modicum of remorse by Depp is disgusting. Men spewing anger against Amber Heard to use this case to draw attention to the fact that women abusers exist is equally nauseating and equally as abusive as their issue. But perhaps the most disturbing are the “lawyers” throwing their cereal-box-degree two cents in without fully hearing the facts and completely ignoring what Depp has happily and consistently admitted to: he was a drug and alcohol fueled addict with a penchant for phyiscal and emtional abuse.

Wait — wtf?

Based on what the expert witnesses have said, most healthy people don’t wake up wanting to abuse their nearest and dearest physically, verbally, emotionally, or psychologically. Most healthy people avoid people or situations that drive them to extreme reactions. To hear it told in this embarrassing, dirty-laundry airing court case that Depp thinks is going to recover the career he fucked up himself, Depp and Heard knew full well about each other’s volatility and negative personality traits before getting married. But like relationships throughout time, these two decided to ignore the blinking, larger-than-life, neon red flags and jump into “my love for you can fix this” relationship mode. For most of us, fictitious movie romances programmed us with unrealistic relationship expectations. But even in movies friends or family try to intervene to save our hero and heroine from guaranteed misery — so…where were Depp and Heard's people?

Few, if any, friends or family on either side seem to have risked being cast off the gravy train to warn Depp and Heard that they might not just be MFEO. Anybody speaking up right now has something to lose if they do including old girlfriends/ boyfriends who have experienced Depps crazy, violent episodes — they’re not new or unique to Heard. And, in the name of saving themselves from retribution, how many others have suffered from abusive behaviour by either Depp or Heard have refused to speak up because of threats, intimidation, or being paid to shut up? Shame on anyone who didn’t validate any of the abuse that they, too, went through with either of these actors. But how are these gutless former lovers, family, and goldfish-poop enablers any different from the ticket-paying lumpen who fund these celebrities’ lifestyles? They’re not. Motives are motives and anyone who doesn’t stand up to abuse is an accomplice to abuse. The people sitting around the Oscars watching Will Smith slap Chris Rock and not stepping in to confront Smith? By doing absolutely nothing, they glamorized abuse. They’re also accomplices, in my books. Rock was left there traumatized, Smith sat down like he had every right to explode. Everybody just sat there.

Seriously? Wtf?

There is no rank to abuse —no “just a little” or “a lot”. You don’t need to be a famous actor to be nominated worst fucking human of the year, but the fact that Depp even launched this pay-back attempt case is undeniable evidence of his abusive and ungentlemanly behaviour (his acting skills for even this couldn’t pull it off on the witness stand). This is the “nail in the coffin” of his career material that he’s hammered in himself. Watching Depp destroy himself in front of the whole wide world is a textbook example of a narcissistic abuser: when they’re called out, any accountability for their actions turns into a blubbering justification for perpetrating heinous acts against someone they have no respect for. He had his lawyers bring in self-damning evidence and he laughingly admitted to it. Let’s be honest — nobody “made” Depp (or Heard ) behave the way the world now knows they did; like thumbs, reason is what separates humans from animals. There is no acceptable reason, now or ever, that abuse is excusable regardless of what elevated status in society Depp or Heard have been brainwashed into believing they had. But a sense of the grandiose is in every abuser, when you look at it. However, the issues here go far deeper than the superficiality “fans” have dumbed this case down to.

Depp and Heard, to whatever extent they are popularized and glamorized, are only each of us but in different meat suits. We all “know better” when we’re in the same type of relationship. Today in the few minutes of court that I listened in on, Heard sounded intelligent enough to have taken the nearest exit out of the relationship umpteen times before she married Depp. Dammit, haven’t we all learned by now from movies that that bringing out the worst in each other is not love? None of this would have happened if either of these two had had the balls to say “seeya” and the world might still have Jack Sparrow to save the Pirates series. To be driven to the point of reacting violently when pushed to the extreme is in all of us. But to have Heard relive the abuse again in front of the world in retribution for Depp’s inability to take responsibility for his own career demise is proof that she was right; he is insufferably self-righteous and abusive. The article condemning abuse that Heard wrote isn’t what killed his career and this waste of time court case is just Depp proving how abusive he is.

Heard’s batshit crazy and violent? Depp could have left at anytime but for myriad reasons did not and has obviously still not been able to give up trying to control Heard’s life. Seriously — for all of the “rehab” he’s had and how reformed he says he is now, blaming Heard for destroying his career through an apres-court-case-he-lost op-ed after all of the evidence he’s admitted to shows him leagues away from the victim he’s presented himself to be. His diabetes-causing “poor me” verbal syrup while revealing his true, misogynistic character is revealing. Heard’s actions are revealing as well. These people have deep psychological problems and they’re being aired on prime time when they’re nobody’s business. These are real peoples’ lives being turned into a spectator sport by a butt-hurt ex husband. This is reality, not the sit-com Depp tried to turn it into in the court room. And the bottom line is that at any time before or during their relationship, Depp and Heard could have called it quits but they didn’t. This is sick, it’s not love. It’s a cautionary tale to anyone thinking they would like to be in a relationship with either of these two.

If we ourselves haven’t been in an abusive relationship like this, we’ve seen it happen. There’s nothing remotely attractive about this couple’s court case or the abuse perpetrated by each other. Think about it: if either Johnny Depp or Amber Heard were pulling this on your sister/ brother/ best friend or pet even, would the abuse still be excusable? Check out the current statistics on abuse; they aren’t glamourous, in fact, you probably wouldn’t wish them on your worst enemy. The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence has some facts for the #justiceforjohnnydepp and #justiceforamberheard noisemaker (download the factsheet to throw out there when you’re taking sides on the Depp v. Heard case):

On average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. During one year, this equates to more than 10 million women and men.

1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men have been victims of severe physical violence (e.g., beating, burning, strangling) by an intimate partner in their lifetime.

On a typical day, there are more than 20,000 phone calls placed to domestic violence hotlines nationwide.

The presence of a gun in a domestic violence situation increases the risk of homicide by 500%.

Intimate partner violence accounts for 15% of all violent crime.

Domestic victimization is correlated with a higher rate of depression and suicidal behavior.

None of these statistics can be ignored because an actor dressed up as a character and went to a children’s hospital for some good PR, or because some deluded actress decided to think standing by watching a drug addict detox is part of the definition of love and taking it out on him when real life didn’t offer her a statue. If you haven’t personally ever suffered abuse, I applaud you but also encourage you to educate yourself on the various kinds of abuse there are that you could mistakenly be thinking is “normal”. And this is possibly one of the saddest parts of this publicized breakdown: somewhere, somehow in their own personal lives pre-famedom, these two human beings were taught that abuse is part of a normal life.

Media wants people to take sides, vilify one party, condemn the other. If people were to view these two popularized human beings as exactly that — human beings, perhaps the lens on these two actors would pan over to the real issue: regardless of who is doing it or who it’s happening to, abuse is insideous and reprehensible. In 2022 where mental health is openly advocated and help is more readily available than at any other time in history, the acceptance and glamorizing of abuse should be at an all-time low. Abusers, like in this current court case in Virginia, will excuse themselves, lie, twist the truth, gaslight, and point their fingers at everyone else but themselves. The adage “when you point one finger, three fingers are pointing back at you” seems to hover over the witness box in a cartoon cloud. Only this time “it’s different” and excusable because Johnny Depps’s drug-fed ego spun out of control and Disney cut his contract, so Amber Heard has to have her private counselling sessions broadcast to world how many years after their divorce? Has Depp no shame or sense of embarrassment? Everything about this court case indicates a huge no. Launching this court case is just another classic example of abuse because of self-sabotage — are any of the fans seeing a pattern yet?

Jesus, wtf.

And here’s another “give your head a shake” point to consider: the outcome of this case affects whether it’s okay to abuse someone because speaking up about it might bring a whole new wave of abuse in the form of public humiliation from the abuser who can’t get their brain to wrap around the fact that they’re weak, sick, and and the world is watching them implode their career. I’m no MENSA candidate, but it sure looks like continued drug abuse. From now on, every time either of these two show up in the news with a new relationship there will be a collective clock ticking on the breakup headline because neither of these two seems to have had any epiphanies, from what I’m seeing. But hey, that’s the price of fame, right? What do you mean it’s nobody’s business? Depp is making it everybody’s business with this frivolous court case. The whole world knows about Depp and Heard’s insane life because they chose it — all of it.

It’s heartbreaking.

Depp’s still trying to throw punches in court. Insults and laughing when he thinks he’s hurting Heard says more about his misogyny than anything else. He played this character wrong — he should have went for the poster boy against abuse rather than attempting to inflict more abuse on Heard through this. This is another futile attempt to gain control over any aspect of her life, but he never will. This has backfired on him spectacularly, regardless of the outcome in court. In fact, you have to hand it to Heard — she’s not intimidated by Depp. No matter what the outcome of this act of the Depp-Heard play, she’s already won in the long run. She’s giving power to abused victims everywhere to stand up to the abuser, and this will outweigh any negative PR she’s incurred because her unwillingness to let Depp continue to abuse her trumps Depp’s final attempt to stay in her life. This is the material that legends are made of.

The Depp v Heard case isn’t news, it’s just another PR move for attention only the set is courthouse in a jurisdiction where real justice is less likely to favour truth but benefit from the notariety it gains. Depp and Heard are human beings who get paid a lot of money to play fictitious characters, and this can detract people interested in this kind of drama to choose a side mainly based on appearances and ignoring the reality that this case is about abuse.Everyone— male or female — who has ever suffered from abuse or seen the effects of it should be calling out these “fans” and whoever is advocating this including TikTok, Twitter, Facebook or other social media pandering to this garbage. To the #justiceforjohnnydepp/ #justiceforamberheard and laughable “lawyers” needing to gain a minute amount of notoriety through endorsing abuse by celebrities on social media: educate yourselves on the real issues going on here; it could happen to you. Movie producers blacklisting abusers — sure, everyone knows this move is more of a PR stunt than a message, but if it scares some celebrities straight, we’ll take it. To anyone who turns your head the other way or lies about abuse thinking you’re saving your own hide, shame on you and karma knows where you live.

Perhaps one of the most frightening parts of this shameful public display is that this case will be used as a precedent in the future, and will remain significant whatever the outcome; this case will send some kind of message. Hopefully the jury chooses one that advances human rights, not one that gets them an autograph from a self-imploded movie star. Ultimately, the only truth in any of this Depp v. Heard thing is that abuse is not never excusable, it’s not glamorous; it’s destructive and devastating and there are no “winners” taking awards home. The only side to take is the one that actively stops abuse in our own, glamorous and non-glamorous corners of the world. Make the world a better place, “fans”, and stop glamorizing abuse.

Fin.

Non-professional observer and freelance writer wondering what the hell is going on. Here's what I think...

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