Johnny Depp Wins Against Amber Heard — And the Media Loses

Amber Heard's Attorney Says Star Will Appeal Verdict in Defamation Case |  PEOPLE.com

When Johnny Depp first sued The Sun newspaper in the UK for calling him a “wife beater,” I was just as engrossed in the outcome of that of that trial as I was when he sued Amber Heard in the United States for defamation. I believed then, as I believe now, that Johnny Depp is innocent of the allegations against him. Not only did I believe him not to be a “wife beater,” I believed he was also a victim of serious physical and emotional abuse at the hands of his then wife — Amber Heard.

Many folks in the media and anyone anti-Depp likes to use the UK verdict to measure Johnny Depp’s innocence or guilt. In fact, many will argue that the standard for winning in the UK is even more difficult, as the burden is on the newspaper to prove the truth of what they printed as opposed to the burden being on Johnny Depp to prove that it is false. What these people don’t understand; however, is something very important — the law.

For starters, the UK involved different parties. Johnny Depp sued a newspaper, not Amber Heard. For Johnny Depp to win the case in the UK he would have to prove that The Sun had absolutely no reason to believe the truth of what they printed. All they needed to prevail was for Heard to testify as the source. “You see,” they would say, “the accuser herself has testified to the violence. It’s not up to us to strap her to a lie detector.” Simply put, all the The Sun had to prove is that they didn’t pull it out of thin air. It’s a much easier for The Sun than many suspect.

In the United States, there’s one thing we know for certain about suing a celebrity for defamation — it is hard as hell to win. Because Depp is a “public figure,” he must not only prove that Heard’s allegations are false, but that she had “actual malice” when she said it. That means at the time she wrote and published the now infamous Op-Ed in the Washington Post stating, “I spoke up against sexual violence — and faced our culture’s wrath. That has to change,” she knew it was a lie. And after weeks of grueling testimony in a Virginia court, the jury decided that Amber Heard not only lied — she did so with purpose (or malice).

Many in the media have used this case to support their own personal agenda. Anti #MeToo republicans such as Megyn Kelly seem to have found some perverse joy in a woman being exposed for her lies, as if it’s some larger knock at a liberal agenda. Some major media outlets, on the other hand, are so unbearably biased that they printed thought pieces begging us to continue to “believe all women” rather than review the evidence at hand.

The New York Times, for example, called the trial a “sad spectacle” that “rested less on facts than on sympathies.” They also claimed that Depp was at a distinct advantage because “he’s a more familiar performer, a bigger star who has dwelled for much longer in the glow of public approbation.” And in the most heinous of statements (shame on you, NYT) they surmised that “the audience was primed to accept him as flawed, vulnerable, human, and to view her as monstrous…because he’s a man.”

I need not explain that Johnny Depp’s gender has done nothing but work against him since Heard first accused him of violence. Heard was immediately believed before anyone even looked at the evidence, and Depp was swiftly dropped from nearly every movie, including the very lucrative Pirates franchise, with little to no recourse. In the eyes of the public, the media, and perhaps some in his close orbit, he was a villainous monster who sexually assaulted and beat his wife. He was unemployable. And to make matters worse, he was the real victim who was simultaneously suffering the residual trauma of domestic violence at the hands of his wife. The idea that his gender worked to his benefit is therefore laughable.

Vogue published an article entitled, “Why It’s Time to Believe Amber Heard,” in which its author stated, “Though I’ve felt myself veering toward it, I can no longer ‘both sides’ this. It’s time to draw a line. It’s time to believe women—all women. It’s time to believe Heard.” Again, a blanket declaration based on gender…not evidence. The idea that we should automatically believe an accuser whose claims can destroy lives is a precedent I do not care to set. I’m a lawyer, and I believe in evidence. To quote Johnny Depp himself, I hope that “the position will now return to innocent until proven guilty, both within the courts and in the media.”

Even Monica Lewinsky got involved in an article for Vanity Fair, in which she deemed the trial a “celebrity circus” and challenged us to be far less cruel to Amber Heard, given Monica’s own unfair experience with the media. Lewinsky also admitted to not having watched the trial in full. Personally, I’d advise Lewinsky to no longer write articles on legal trials if she hasn’t watched said legal trials. Furthermore, I’d challenge her to explain to me how we’re supposed to talk about Amber Heard, if not with cruelty? If she were a man who beat up his wife over and over again, would she still encourage us to treat him with a little more kindness? No one treated Chris Brown with kindness after he assaulted Rihanna.

Heard herself tried to capitalize on the culture after her loss, stating that “It sets back the clock to a time when a woman who spoke up and spoke out could be publicly shamed and humiliated. It sets back the idea that violence against women is to be taken seriously.” This is an interesting sentiment, because it ignores violence against men. Should that be taken seriously? She also stated that she believes “Johnny’s attorneys succeeded in getting the jury to overlook the key issue of Freedom of Speech.” This argument also fails on its face, as Freedom of Speech comes with restrictions. Even those of us who did not go to law school know that you cannot scream fire in a crowded theater, nor can you defame people. Lies that destroy one’s reputation are not “protected” speech. Also, Amber Heard is a hypocrite. When Johnny Depp’s very close friend, Doug Stanhope, wrote an article in defense of Depp on the heels of Heard’s initial allegations, she sued him for defamation. So what about Doug’s Freedom of Speech, Amber?

It would be easy to chalk up Johnny Depp’s relationship with Amber Heard to mutual toxicity as so many in the media have. It would be easy to say they “both beat each other up” and to diminish the trial as a circus. No one wants to believe that a woman lied about domestic violence and sexual assault for revenge. No one wants to listen to the tapes of Amber Heard admitting to beating up her husband. No one wants to look at the photos of Johnny Depp with a black eye and a severed finger and believe that his wife attacked him. No one wants to believe that a human being would set out to obliterate another person’s reputation, on top of having already physically abused them. Who could possibly be that evil?

This case was not a spectacle, a circus, or a voyeur’s delight. It was a man fighting for his life back with a supervised trial as his last available option. Unless the public saw the evidence with their own eyes and listened to Amber Heard’s testimony with their own ears, Johnny Depp would be forever, unjustly tarnished.

I would encourage the media and the public at large to either watch every minute of the trial or not comment on it. These jurors devoted a lot of time and energy to this case, and they determined that Amber Heard lied on the stand. Almost every incident of violence alleged by Amber Heard had witnesses present, and every single witness contradicted her testimony. Furthermore, there are a plethora of pictures after each alleged incident of violence that directly impeach her testimony. The only person with visible injuries and hospital records is Johnny Depp. Lastly, I watched Amber Heard testify on the stand and she was not a credible witness. I understand that not all victims of domestic violence will behave the way we think they should behave, but I also understand what a liar looks like — and I believe Amber Heard is a liar.

For more on the trial, listen to my podcast below.

Will Smith Slaps Chris Rock at the Oscars With Zero Consequences

Chris Rock took the stage at the 94th Annual Academy Awards to present the award for Best Documentary Feature and things did not go as planned. While looking at Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith, who were seated front and center, Rock made a bad joke about Jada’s bald head, saying, “Jada, I love ya. G.I. Jane 2, can’t wait to see ya.” Though Smith initially laughed, Jada did not, and Smith then charged the stage and slapped Chris Rock, before sitting back down and yelling, “Keep my wife’s name out of your fucking mouth!”…twice (uncensored video below).

Jada Pinkett Smith has alopecia, and she’s been honest about her insecurities surrounding the autoimmune disease.  It was a shockingly dated, bad, low-hanging-fruit joke for someone of Rock’s stature, but was it worthy of inspiring such ire? And to quote Howard Stern, “What the f— is going on because where’s security? This is a live television event. Not one person came out because he’s Will Smith. This is how Trump gets away with shit. Will Smith and Trump are the same guy.” See some other reactions below.

Will Smith’s own son, Jaden Smith, had a different reaction, saying, “And That’s How We Do It.”

If I were Will Smith, I’d be crying over the fact that my son — whom I’d hope he would try to set an example for — thinks violence is okay. If my father did something like this, I’d admonish him behind the scenes. People need to be checked, especially by their own family — especially by the younger generation that we hope would know better.

Others pointed out that Will Smith showed August Alsina — the man with whom is wife was having an affair with — way more grace than Chris Rock — a comedian whose joke did not land. Is it possible this is about more than the joke? Perhaps, to quote Nikki Glaser, Smith’s alleged open relationship with Pinkett Smith is taking its inevitable toll, and Smith is losing it. If I’m playing armchair psychologist, I think Smith’s very personal memoir kicked up dust on his childhood trauma, and he hasn’t recovered.

What we witnessed at the 94th Annual Academy Awards was an assault with no repercussions, because Will Smith is an A List star who is held to a different standard. When we ask how so many high-powered individuals got away with verbal abuse, sexual abuse, or physical abuse for so long inside the walls of Hollywood, just look to this event. In fact, Smith was allowed to accept his Oscar and therefore be given a platform to deliver an extremely damaging speech that justified his physical violence as “protecting his family.” The Oscars should be ashamed for not holding him accountable, in addition to their deplorable ceremony overall.

Jake Gyllenhaal Calls Out Taylor Swift’s Rabid “All Too Well” Fans

I like a good revenge story just as much as the next person and despite my previous distaste for Taylor Swift’s very identifiable heartbreak references, her musical prowess has forced me to come around. But when Swift re-released “All Too Well,” what was once a knock at her previous lover, Jake Gyllenhaal, turned into a full on, burn-the-house-down 10-minute retelling of the actor’s poor behavior, including a very cutting line that would inevitably serve to direct attention to his current flame (see below).

“And I was never good at telling jokes, but the punch line goes/ I’ll get older, but your lovers stay my age.”

Jake’s current girlfriend — Jeanne Cadieu — is 26 years old while Jake is 41. One can only anticipate what happened next. Social media venom was directed not only at Jake for decade-old behavior, but to Jeanne, and Swift refused to call off the troops. To be fair, it can be argued that these trolls are not true Taylor fans, but Taylor had the power to stop it with a simple message on Twitter, and she did nothing. Now, Jake is speaking up for the first time to Esquire and he has a very good point. Though he takes no issue with Taylor expressing her heartbreak in song, the actor said:

“At some point, I think it’s important when supporters get unruly that we feel a responsibility to have them be civil and not allow for cyberbullying in one’s name. That begs for a deeper philosophical question. Not about any individual, per se, but a conversation that allows us to examine how we can—or should, even—take responsibility for what we put into the world, our contributions into the world. How do we provoke a conversation? We see that in politics. There’s anger and divisiveness, and it’s literally life-threatening in the extreme.

I’m not here to tell another woman what to do, but it’s certainly troubling that she never spoke up, fully knowing the consequences.

Kanye West Gives Billie Eilish a Wildly Inappropriate Ultimatum

Kanye West has given Billie Eilish an ultimatum — either apologize to Travis Scott for taking a rightful dig at Scott or Ye will take his Coachella ball and go home.

Eilish paused her performance in Atlanta after she noticed a fan in distress, saying, “I wait for people to be okay until I keep going.” Kanye took issue with Eilish’s implication that Scott knew the lives of his concertgoers were under threat when he chose to continue performing. According to Kanye, “No one intended this to happen Trav didn’t have any idea of what was happening when he was on stage and was very hurt by what happened and yes Trav will be with me at Coachella but now I need Billie to apologize before I perform.”

For starters, I take issue with a man giving an ultimatum to a woman and holding a show hostage until she relents, especially when said man is two decades older. Furthermore, Eilish is entitled to believe that Travis Scott engaged in reckless behavior, especially given his history of inciting violence at his concerts. And lastly, Kanye’s behavior will only serve to unleash a social media mob on Eilish, which isn’t just immature — it’s dangerous.

Miley Cyrus Delivers an Incredible NYE Show

MILEY’S NEW YEAR’S EVE PARTY HOSTED BY MILEY CYRUS AND PETE DAVIDSON — Pictured: Miley Cyrus performs on Saturday, January 1st — (Photo by: Vijat Mohindra/NBC)

I’ve always known Miley Cyrus was talented, but I certainly can’t take credit for knowing she was this talented. She rang in the new year alongside Saturday Night Live’s Pete Davidson and some very special guests for the most incredible performances I’ve seen on live TV in some time.

Miley’s New Year’s Eve Party aired live last night on NBC from Miami, Florida (at an undisclosed location that I’m still hunting down) and it can be streamed on-demand on Peacock. The show was executive produced by Lorne Michaels, which shows through in some of the very funny sketches between Miley and Pete.

Watch some of the performance highlights below and prepare to have your jaw dropped.

Miley Cyrus singing her new tune, “You”

Miley performing “Plastic Hearts” off her 2020 record by the same name.

Miley handling a “Party-in-the-USA” wardrobe malfunction like the pro she is.

Taylor Swift Releases 10-Minute Version of ‘All Too Well’

Taylor Swift: Red (Taylor's Version) Album Review | Pitchfork

Taylor Swift re-released her smash hit album, Red, and it included the 10 minute version of her song “All Too Well.” Swift’s re-release of one of her most celebrated albums of all time is a carefully calculated attempt to de-value her original masters, which were sold out from under her. Re-recording her masters is a loophole that only a very motivated, cash-positive artist would capitalize on given the time and expense necessary to accomplish such a tall task.

For fans in the know, “All Too Well” is a sorrowful recounting of the heartbreak Swift experienced when her relationship with Jake Gyllenhaal came to an abrupt end. Though they only dated for only three months, Swift spent the holidays with Jake and his family, and she introduced him to hers. Given that she was only 20 at the time and he was 30, it’s fair to assume she took the relationship much more seriously. Having said that, Taylor Swift is entitled to any heartbreak she sees fit, whether it’s on the heels of a three-month or three year relationship.

This longer version of “All Too Well” was allegedly recorded 13 years ago but cut down to meet the standards of the average length of the song. Fans have long asked for the original version, and she certainly delivered. But is this really the original version? It comes with some very cutting new lyrics, including, “And I was never good at telling jokes, but the punch line goes, ‘I’ll get older, but your lovers stay my age.'” Jake’s current girlfriend is 25 years old. But Taylor Swift didn’t have a crystal ball 13 years ago, so she would not know about Jake’s predilection for twentysomethings. This therefore feels like a fresh dig and although there are no perimeters on art, I can’t help but wonder if she still holds a grudge. And hell hath no fury like Taylor Swift scorned – even over a decade later.

Watch her performance on SNL below.

Meghan McCain Goes Scorched Earth on ‘The View’

Meghan McCain: Why I Quit 'The View' - Variety
Image via AUDIBLE

It’s unfortunate that Meghan McCain’s Bad Republican book tour does not include a chapter in which she takes responsibility for her role in the toxic behavior on The View. While I do not pretend to know what it’s like to sit at a table as the only Republican on a heavily left-leaning panel, I wish McCain could own up to disrespecting Whoopi Goldberg and Joy Behar time and time again.

Continue reading “Meghan McCain Goes Scorched Earth on ‘The View’”

Derek Hough Kills it with Horror Night Performance

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again — Derek Hough is the Gene Kelly of today’s generation. The only problem? Aside from Dancing With The Stars, he doesn’t get the credit he’s due. While the ABC show is certainly an impressive platform, I know there’s more for him, and his agents just haven’t found it yet.

Watch his Horror Night tango performance alongside the extremely talented Hayley Erbert (also Derek’s girlfriend) set to “Deadwood/New Blood” by Really Slow Motion/Zayde Wølf.

Iman Shumpert Steals the Show on DWTS – Gets all 10s

In one of the best dances ever choreographed on Dancing With The Stars, Daniella Karagach was finally able to use Shumpert’s height to her advantage in a “contemporary” routine during last night’s show. With some extremely innovative moves set to “I Got 5 On It (Tethered Mix from US)” by Luniz ft. Michael Marshall, the duo tore the house down for a Halloween-themed horror night.

Watch the jaw-dropping routine below.

Kacey Musgraves Delivers ‘Forrest Gump’-Inspired Performance on ‘SNL’

SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE — “Owen Wilson” Episode 1806 — Pictured: Musical guest Kacey Musgraves performs “Justified” on Saturday, October 2, 2021 — (Photo by: Will Heath/NBC)

I’m a self-admitted prude about gratuitous nudity, but I’ll make an exception for the Kasey Musgraves’ performance on Saturday Night Live. In short, it works. And not because she’s hot, because it’s an altogether beautiful song and her lack of clothes feels like an accessory to her performance rather than the main event. Performing “Justified” from her recently released album star-crossed, Musgraves’ was inspired by the character of Jenny from Forrest Gump. Watch below to be mesmerized.