The Johnny Depp vs. Amber Heard defamation trial has been keeping everyone hooked for the past couple of weeks, reaching high audience levels. However, all the stir around the trial sparked many toxic reactions, with a lot of negative speech directed towards Heard, in particular. The pro-Depp community went as far as creating a petition for Heard to be removed from the Aquaman sequel, petition signed by a staggering number of 4,168,003 people.
But what do all these reactions say about us and our society?
With the focus on mental health significantly increasing in the past couple of years, we have been priding ourselves, as a society, that we have become more tolerant now than ever. But if we are to look at the entire rhetoric generated by this celebrity trial, there are not many signs of tolerance to be observed.
Bryony Gordon, feature writer and columnist for The Telegraph, interestingly pointed out that, “there is nothing more unwell than using mental illness as a metaphorical stick to beat someone with in a trial”. And that’s exactly what is happening with this trial. Whether it is in court, on the news or in social media, the tendency has been to blame Heard and justify Depp’s actions through the perspective of Heard’s mental health issues.
In this blind race of looking for the “guilty one”, many forget that things are never black and white, but rather a thousand and more shades of grey. At the same time, we tend to ignore the fact that our perspective of the entire situation is distorted depending on our biases and sources of information.
The reality is that most people seem to forget about tolerance and objectivity, not to mention the vulnerability of people with mental health issues, a category to which both protagonists of the trial belong. In truth, even if we aspire to be a tolerant society, we still have a long way to go and we have to accept this first, in order to really see a progress on this matter.