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Opinion: Why It’s Time to Believe Amber Heard

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Amber Heard at the Depp v. Heard defamation trial in Fairfax, Virginia, on April 28. photo: Getty Images

Raven Smith of Vogue – Where to begin with the online cesspit that is Depp v. Heard? Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few weeks, you’ll know that the ex-spouses are back in court.

Johnny Depp is seeking damages of $50 million after Amber Heard wrote an op-ed for The Washington Post in 2018 in which she spoke of being a victim of domestic abuse (without ever explicitly naming Depp). The minutiae being combed through at the trial has come to feel less like a lawsuit and more like a torturous exorcism of the past, a thorough and painful raking over the coals of their four-year entanglement.

The details of both Depp and Heard’s testimonies are harrowing all by themselves—gruesome, violent, and containing deeply intimate anecdotes about their relationship. Broadly speaking, witness testimonies can be persuasive, and with two actors in the dock, we can never be sure of the absolute truth. Still, despite the fact that London’s High Court previously found allegations that Depp was a “wife beater”to be “substantially true,” the internet appears to have overwhelmingly picked Depp’s side. Last week #JusticeForJohnnyDepp was trending on Twitter; yesterday, it was #AmberTurd.

Go on social media, and the anti-Heard sentiment is palpable. The memes have been ferocious, sometimes consisting of a spot-the-difference comparison with domestic-abuse victims; at other times, televised courtroom footage has been appropriated to openly mock her appearance. It is plain misogyny. The company behind the makeup compact Heard used to hide her bruises even made a TikTok disputing her claims. Heard is being systematically jeered at and ridiculed like a medieval criminal in the stocks as she catalogs historic abuse, as she alleges rape. Have we completely lost track of the severity of these allegations?

We all understand that Depp fans will side with Depp. But even the less aggressively Depp-pilled of us want to believe that the Caribbean pirate is blameless—if not squeaky clean then at least under the duress of drug addiction or acting out of character; that his violence can be somewhat explained away by a lapse of judgment or circumstance or both. We certainly don’t want to believe that this entire court case is a precise and conniving operation in discrediting Heard, regardless of what she has to say, regardless of her truth.

I don’t want to think about what this is saying to victims of abuse who are considering coming forward. And regardless of what Heard did or didn’t suffer at the hands of Depp, isn’t the relentless memeing of her a form of violence in itself? Is the pummeling by social media not a type of psychological assault? Are we not witnessing a modern-day witch trial?

Some weeks the internet is buoyant, all of us kept afloat by daft dresses and Kardashian weddings and Marvel actors saying they’ve never been in the same room. Other weeks it just feels too heavy. We’re watching people actively seek out humor in domestic abuse as Roe v. Wadeis terrorized by pro-lifers and as we see yet more episodes of racially aggravated violence. We’ll rally, we always rally, but right here, right now, it feels shit.

I spend a lot of time wondering if everyone’s lost the plot—if the erosion of empathy we see online has rendered us so inherently unkind as a species that there’s no return. I don’t want to despair for humanity. I want to believe that some of us are offline and mildly compassionate or compassionate in a way that doesn’t get tweeted about—that you’re all out there being nice to each other and I’m reporting on a tiny cluster of internet users with pitchforks.

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. The British courts believed Depp beat his ex-wife. What’s stopping the rest of us?

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2022 BET Awards: Complete List Of Winners

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WIZKID FEAT, JUSTIN BIEBER & TEMS wins the award for Best Collaboration #BETAwards 

The BET Awards are back for their 2022 edition, with Taraji P. Henson hosting Culture’s Biggest Night for the second year in a row. The show airs live on BET Sunday night at 8 p.m. ET/PT from Los Angeles’ Microsoft Theater.

Doja Cat leads the pack of BET nominees with six, dominating the music categories with nods for album of the year, best female R&B/pop artist, female hip-hop artist, video of the year, best collaboration and the BET Her award. Drake and Ari Lennox follow suit with four nominations each.

Performers during the star-studded show include Lil Wayne, Lizzo, Jack Harlow, Roddy Ricch, Babyface, Chance the Rapper, Chlöe, Doechii, Ella Mai, Fireboy DML, Giveon, Joey Bada$$, Maverick City Music x Kirk Franklin, Latto and Muni Long.

The 2022 class of nominees is selected by BET’s Voting Academy, which is comprised of entertainment professionals in music, television, film, digital marketing, sports journalism, public relations, influencers and creative arts.

Find the full list of winners below:

Album of the year

WINNER: An Evening With Silk Sonic, Silk Sonic
Back of My Mind, H.E.R.
Call Me If You Get Lost, Tyler, The Creator
Certified Lover Boy, Drake
Donda, Kanye West
Heaux Tales, Mo’ Tales: The Deluxe, Jazmine Sullivan
Planet Her, Doja Cat

Best female R&B/pop artist

Ari Lennox
Chlöe
Doja Cat
H.E.R.
WINNER: Jazmine Sullivan
Mary J. Blige
Summer Walker

Best male R&B/pop artist

Blxst
Chris Brown
Givēon
Lucky Daye
WINNER: The Weeknd
Wizkid
Yung Bleu

Best female hip-hop artist

Cardi B
Doja Cat
Latto
WINNER: Megan Thee Stallion
Nicki Minaj
Saweetie

Best male hip-hop artist

Drake
Future
J. Cole
Jack Harlow
Kanye West
WINNER: Kendrick Lamar
Lil Baby

Best group

WINNER: Silk Sonic
Chlöe X Halle
City Girls
Lil Baby & Lil Durk
Migos
Young Dolph & Key Glock

Best collaboration

WINNER: “Essence,” Wizkid Feat. Justin Bieber & Tems
“Every Chance I Get,” DJ Khaled Feat. Lil Baby & Lil Durk
“Family Ties,” Baby Keem & Kendrick Lamar
“Kiss Me More,” Doja Cat Feat. SZA
“Way 2 Sexy,” Drake Feat. Future & Young Thug
“Whole Lotta Money” (Remix), Bia Feat. Nicki Minaj

Best new artist

Baby Keem
Benny the Butcher
WINNER: Latto
Muni Long
Tems
Yung Bleu

Video of the year

WINNER: “Family Ties,” Baby Keem & Kendrick Lamar
“Have Mercy,” Chlöe
“Kiss Me More,” Doja Cat Feat. SZA
“Pressure,” Ari Lennox
WINNER: “Smokin Out the Window,” Silk Sonic
“Way 2 Sexy,” Drake Feat. Future & Young Thug

Video director of the year

WINNER: Anderson .Paak a.k.a. Director .Paak
Benny Boom
Beyoncé & Dikayl Rimmasch
Director X
Hype Williams
Missy Elliott

Dr. Bobby Jones best gospel/inspirational award

“All in Your Hands,” Marvin Sapp
“Come to Life,” Kanye West
“Grace.” Kelly Price
“Hallelujah,” Fred Hammond
“Hold Us Together (Hope Mix),” H.E.R. & Tauren Wells
“Jireh,” Elevation Worship & Maverick City Music
WINNER: “We Win,” Lil Baby X Kirk Franklin

BET Her

“Best of Me (Originals),” Alicia Keys
WINNER: “Good Morning Gorgeous,” Mary J. Blige
“Have Mercy,” Chlöe
“Pressure,” Ari Lennox
“Roster,” Jazmine Sullivan
“Unloyal,” Summer Walker & Ari Lennox
“Woman,” Doja Cat

Best international act

Dave (U.K.)
Dinos (France)
Fally Ipupa (Democratic Republic of the Congo)
Fireboy DML (Nigeria)
Little Simz (U.K.)
Ludmilla (Brazil)
Major League DJz (South Africa)
Tayc (France)
WINNER: Tems (Nigeria)

Best movie

Candyman
WINNER: King Richard
Respect
Space Jam: A New Legacy
Summer of Soul
The Harder They Fall

Best actor

Adrian Holmes, Bel Air
Anthony Anderson, Black-Ish
Damson Idris, Snowfall
Denzel Washington, The Tragedy of Macbeth
Forest Whitaker, Respect | Godfather of Harlem
Jabari Banks, Bel Air
Sterling K. Brown, This Is Us
WINNER: Will Smith, King Richard

Best actress

Aunjanue Ellis, King Richard
Coco Jones, Bel Air
Issa Rae, Insecure
Jennifer Hudson, Respect
Mary J. Blige, Power Book II: Ghost
Queen Latifah, The Equalizer
Quinta Brunson, Abbott Elementary
Regina King, The Harder They Fall
WINNER: Zendaya, Euphoria | Spider-Man: No Way Home

YoungStars award

Akira Akbar
Demi Singleton
WINNER: Marsai Martin
Miles Brown
Saniyya Sidney
Storm Reid

Sportswoman of the year award

Brittney Griner
Candace Parker
WINNER: Naomi Osaka
Serena Williams
Sha’carri Richardson
Simone Biles

Sportsman of the year award

Aaron Donald
Bubba Wallace
Giannis Antetokounmpo
Ja Morant
LeBron James
WINNER: Stephen Curry

 

 

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Why Johnny Depp’s Upcoming Gregg Brooks Assault Trial Will Not Be Televised

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It has been reported that cameras have not been permitted to be in the courtroom for Johnny Depp's upcoming assault trial. Depp is pictured above testifying at the Fairfax County Circuit Court during his recent defamation trial on April 25, 2022. STEVE HELBER/POOL/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES

When Johnny Depp returns to court next month to fight assault allegations, it will likely not become a spectacle reminiscent of his recent defamation trial, as requests for the proceedings to be televised have been denied.

During his six-week defamation trial against his ex-wife Amber Heard, viewers were able to tune in on a daily basis to catch all of the drama live as it was broadcast from Virginia’s Fairfax County Circuit Court.

This time around, Depp will face film crew member Gregg “Rocky” Brooks, who has accused the actor of punching him in the chest during a dispute on the Los Angeles set of the actor’s film City of Lies in April 2017. However, fans hoping for a front-row seat to the proceedings from the convenience of their homes will be disappointed to learn that this trial will not be a repeat performance of Depp’s previous trial in that regard.

The Law & Crime Network, which live-streamed Depp’s defamation trial, said that its request submitted to Los Angeles County Superior Court for permission to broadcast the trial when it begins on July 25 has been denied.

Read also: Amber Heard And Britney Spears Highlight The Stigma Of Women’s Mental Illness

We’ve Heard Too Much, Amber

The reasoning around permitting  or denying requests to broadcast courtroom proceedings for each case is different. Penney Azcarate, the chief judge of the Fairfax County Circuit Court, granted permission for Court TV to operate two pool cameras in the courtroom for the Depp-Heard trial.

During a pre-trial hearing in February, Heard’s team had tried unsuccessfully to exclude cameras from the courtroom, with the Aquaman star’s lawyer, Elaine Bredehoft, expressing concern of interest from “anti-Amber networks,” according to Variety.

Ben Chew, one of the attorneys representing Depp, said that his client “believes in transparency” as he pushed for the inclusion of cameras during proceedings. In the end, Azcarate said that she had been inundated with media requests and felt a responsibility to keep the courtroom proceedings open to observers.

The judge also stated that not allowing cameras could lead to reporters descending on the courthouse anyway, leading to a potentially hazardous situation.

“I don’t see any good cause not to do it,” Azcarate said ahead of the trial.

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Johnny Depp’s Legal Team Toast Victory

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On Wednesday 1 June, Johnny Depp won the $50-million defamation case against his ex wife Amber Heard.

Heard was sued for an opinion piece she published in The Washington Post. The court’s decision was much lower than initially demanded by Depp’s legal team as it ordered Heard to pay $10.35 million to him in damages.

After winning the defamation case, Depp’s legal team celebrated their  victory in New York Yesterday.

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