In June of 2020, a high school friend of mine publicly accused a former teacher of child sexual abuse. Her vicious string of social media posts had one goal: To destroy this man’s life.
She claimed that during our senior year, this beloved drama teacher sexually groomed her, engaged in explicit Snapchat conversations with her, and invited her and other “young girls” over to his apartment for dinner and movies.
Each of her accusations included other classmates and close friends, and, in the following weeks, those individuals eventually made the brave decision to stand up and share the truth: the claims made by this young woman were false, and they had the facts to prove it.
Sadly, these types of false accusations were hardly rare throughout my young adult life.
I grew up in the midst of the #MeToo Movement. A movement that taught us to believe all women — regardless of facts, logic, or behavioral history — and perpetuated the idea that modern men were inherently toxic and that masculinity was something we needed to fear and “dismantle.”
What started as a genuine initiative in 2006 to amplify the voices of women who had been raped and assaulted turned into a radicalized political arm of third-wave feminism when Alyssa Milano made the phrase go viral in a 2017 tweet. It was quickly adopted by Hollywood elites who wasted no time in establishing a non-profit, raising millions of dollars and planning a myriad of virtue signaling campaigns.
Right and left, men started being “MeToo-ed.” A swift cancellation would follow along with the destruction of their careers, even if the accusations were vague, denied, or even falsified.
Like many issues that have been exploited for political gains, sexual harassment and abuse are real, and incidents of these horrific acts happen every day. I’ve been touched and treated inappropriately by former employers, and I know women who have been raped and have been in abusive relationships. I’m sure you do, too.
However, no matter how common these occurrences are, they are circumstances that call for nuance, honesty, vigilance, and empathy. The #MeToo movement rejected this call, choosing instead to manufacture a pervasive attitude that men are always in the wrong.
This dangerous precedent has been largely upheld for the past five years… until Amber Heard took the stand. Whether she intended to or not, Heard has single-handedly ripped the movement to shreds.
We are now weeks into the Johnny Depp v. Amber Heard trial, and, at this point, I would assume that most of the country — though some begrudgingly — understands the basics of the case.
However, I recently went out into Nashville and asked people on the street about the trial for a YouTube video. Shockingly, a vast majority of those I spoke with had very little knowledge of the case… or said they simply didn’t care.
For most celebrity legal spats, I’d usually agree with their sentiments. However, this case is different, so I’m going to challenge the idea that we shouldn’t care because it’s just “Hollywood drama.”
While it is certainly a theatrical case between two celebrities, it is also the destruction of the #MeToo Movement.
Technically, Depp is suing Heard for $50 million dollars in damages over a Washington Post article she wrote in 2018. In this op-ed, Heard claims to be a victim of domestic abuse. While Depp was not named in the piece, he claims it alluded to him abusing her during their 15-month marriage.
Regardless, Depp was exiled from Hollywood almost immediately. Most notably, he says that he was removed from the “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise and cut from the “Fantastic Beasts” series, costing him millions. His personal life was destroyed, and, in the height of the hyper-politicized #MeToo movement, it seemed like he had no chance of redemption. Until now.
By suing Heard and fighting for the trial and having it live-streamed for the public’s viewing, Depp has not only cleared his own name, but he has set the stage for leveling the radically imbalanced playing field created by the #MeToo Movement.
At this point, whether or not Johnny and his team are able to legally prove defamation is almost inconsequential; a number of people in the court of public opinion have already ruled in his favor. Millions of people have been glued to their screens, watching Amber’s allegations crumble.
Due process is important for both sides, of course, and legal experts can’t offer certain predictions on the outcome of the case. However, the evidence presented against Heard has presented a much-needed reality check.
Without a doubt, there are more men out there who have been falsely accused and convicted of crimes they did not commit because of legal and cultural bias against men, and, in a way, Johnny Depp has become their representative. With the backing of his resources, Johnny has had the fortunate opportunity to publicly fight his accuser in court, and his ability to do so is why this case is so important.
After years of being told that women were not to be questioned about abuse and their encounters with men, the world is now watching a known woman be questioned and scrutinized. It’s equality in the court of law, plain and simple.
The views expressed in this opinion piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.