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How Did Amber Heard Become Such a Mega Online Villain

Linda enjoys analyzing current events and exploring lessons learned from an emotional and behavioral perspective.

There has been a lot of speculation as to why Amber Heard is getting little-love from from the online community and general public. Many popular media journalists and domestic abuse professionals are shocked that in a post-Me-Too era, there is so little support for Heard. Common arguments include -

  • Johnny Depp is a beloved actor with many die-hard fans who are biased against Amber Heard.
  • Team Depp launched a smear campaign against Amber Heard.
  • Bots and social media algorithms unfairly spread negative posts about Amber Heard, amplifying certain narratives.
  • Right-wing media outlets spent thousands to promote negative posts on Amber Heard.
  • We expect victims of domestic violence to be perfect and disbelieve them when they are not.
Amber Heard at the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival.

Amber Heard at the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival.

He Said, She Said

Often times, in a he said/she said, situation, it is difficult to say who has a more accurate version of reality. None of us were present so we can only rely on the testimony of the two principals (Johnny Depp and Amber Heard), on the perspectives of the surrounding partial witnesses, as well as the many text messages, audio recordings, and photographs presented. Usually, both sides will present a close to equally strong and credible case. However, that did not happen in this trial.

The main reason why Amber Heard is a mega online villain is because of her own testimony in court. There are clear facts showing that Heard lied or at the very least greatly stretched the truth while on the stand.

1. Copyrighted Pictures and Video

While most of us are not lawyers, we have some basic understanding of copyright laws. We know that when we write a story, create an image, take a photo, or record a video, we own the copyright of that item. If we were paid to create by someone else, then they may own the copyright depending on our contractual obligations. Amber Heard took many pictures and a video of Johnny Depp slamming cabinets. Someone leaked an edited version of this video to TMZ on August 2016.

In the trial, Amber Heard testified under oath that she recorded this video. This means that she is the copyright holder of the video. While random net-citizens may sometimes steal and post copyrighted content illegally, a large outfit like TMZ is very careful about getting proper copyright consent before posting. Morgan Tremaine, a former TMZ employee testified to this in the video below. In short, TMZ would not have posted the then "exclusive" video footage if it did not have proper copyright permissions. Since Amber Heard is the copyright holder, she must have granted them consent directly or indirectly through her agents.

However, when faced with this fact, Amber Heard continued to insist that she knew nothing of the leaked video to TMZ. Both cannot be true. Therefore, Amber Heard is not telling the truth.

2. Pledge vs. Donate

After her $7 million divorce settlement from Johnny Depp, Amber Heard declared that she wanted none of that money. She later testified under oath that "the entirety of her divorce settlement was donated to charity". However, documents show that Heard has only donated $350,000 and $250,000 (of her own money) to the ACLU and the Children's Hospital of LA respectively. When questioned about this by Johnny Depp's lawyer in the video below, Amber Heard played word games with the terms pledge and donate, ultimately blaming the whole thing on Johnny Depp.

She refused to admit any mistake on her part even when faced with clear evidence. The word game she played comes across as disingenuous and her shift of blame to Depp, for her own mistake, does not reflect well on her credibility.

3. Manipulated Photos Entered into Evidence

Team Heard submitted many pictures of her with a bruise on her face after an incident on May 21st 2016. In the video below, Amber Heard testified under oath that the different photographs were taken under different lighting conditions. She denied editing or changing the photographs.

In the video below, it was later proven that some of these photographs were indeed edited because the hair/face angles and positions matched exactly when overlaid on top of one another.

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4. Hiring a High Powered Lawyer to Help with Op-Ed

It is not under dispute that Amber Heard hired a high powered lawyer (Eric George) to help her with the Washington Post op-ed, so as to ensure that ...

no "meritorious claim that could be brought against her," especially against any potential defamation lawsuit.

~~[NBC News]

Eric George's deposition was brought up by Team Heard to show that she tried her best to ensure that there was no defamation of Johnny Depp. They did not mention his name and carefully worded the document so as to avoid "any potential defamation lawsuit".

This is another disingenuous action. They all knew that the piece would be defamatory to Johnny Depp, so they got high-powered lawyer Eric George, as well as various ACLU lawyers to protect their own behinds from any potential lawsuits. They tried to skirt defamation laws from a technical perspective (for example by not naming Depp), while knowing full well that practically, everyone would know that they were talking about him. This is because without Johnny Depp, there would be little interest in the piece.

If the piece was truly not about Depp, then they would not need any lawyer to carefully comb through their words.

Amber Heard & Johnny Depp Lawyer Argue over Target of Op-Ed

How Did Amber Heard Become Such a Mega Online Villain?

Many online viewers have a negative reaction to Amber Heard because she did not tell the truth on the stand. It is as simple as that.

When faced with overwhelming evidence of her mistakes, she doubled down on her position and told more stories to support her false narratives. This significantly hurt her credibility. If she cannot distinguish between truth and falsity in these clear-cut instances, how can we trust her words in other instances?

Amber Heard's villain status and deep unpopularity have little to do with bots, alleged propaganda, or smear campaigns. The person that most damaged Amber Heard's credibility is Amber Heard herself.

No, the jury was not confused as suggested by Heard's lawyer Elaine Bredehoft. No, online viewers are not confused or otherwise impaired. In the end, the jury and the public did not believe Amber Heard because she very clearly did not tell the truth while on the stand.

Summary of Inconsistencies in Amber Heard's Case

Nobody is Perfect

Amber Heard did not have to lie about the leaked video, she did not have to manipulate and then lie about submitted court photographs, or claim that she had donated all of her divorce settlement to charity. None of this would have greatly affected her allegations of abuse. When faced with evidence to the contrary, she could have admitted to making mistakes and accepted responsibility for them. Instead, she chose to create more illusions and blame others.

She did not have to lie that the Washington Post op-ed was not about Depp. Instead, she could have named him and boldly claim responsibility for telling her truth.

Sadly, her intense need to be loved fuels her need to be perfect, and in the end, this led to a series of destructive actions that caused harm to those around her and most of all, to herself.

"Nobody is perfect," Depp said, and he is right. When we can see our imperfections and mistakes, we can also learn from them. When we deny the existence of our inner monsters, we become trapped by them, and end up destroying those we love and ourselves.

© 2022 Linda Wright

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