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“We just have to keep on talking”
Following the outcome of Johnny Depp and Amber Heard’s defamation suits against one another, many have pored over how the highly scrutinised case will impact the battle for women’s rights moving forwards. Dame Emma Thompson, a vocal supporter of the #MeToo movement, recently weighed in on a radio show, stating she did not believe the movement would be “derailed” by the case’s outcome.
Thompson dropped by BBC’s Woman’s Hour to speak with host Emma Barnett, where the topic of Depp and Heard’s case was brought up. Barnett shared the concerns of women online, adding in some cases it appeared people felt the movement was “over.”
Barnett asked Thompson, “I just wonder, do you think [the case] does set [#MeToo] back and where you come out of that? Because the coverage of [the case] has been back to back, wall to wall.”
Thompson admitted she hadn’t been following the case closely, however she said firmly “I would say that the #MeToo movement is not going to be derailed. But in order for it not to be derailed, we just have to keep on talking [and] refuse to allow it to be derailed by a case [involving] two very, very, very famous people…has been blown out of all remote human proportion.”
She said she believed the Depp and Heard situation was a “whole other thing” due to their level of fame, and was “not representative.”
She continued, “It’s just very important to remember that this movement is just about human kindness. It’s so simply really, and has been made so complicated. [It] cannot and will not be derailed by one case, and that’s not going to happen.”
A jury found both Depp and Heard had defamed one another, however Depp has been awarded millions more than Heard. Depp was awarded $15 million in damages, with a jury ruling the Aquaman actor had defamed him after writing about her experience with domestic abuse in a 2018 op-ed for The Washington Post (though she did not name the actor in her column).
Heard was awarded $2 million in damages, after a jury found statements made by lawyers for Depp calling her abuse allegations a “hoax” had defamed her and negatively impacted her career.
Depp and Heard’s cases went viral online, with outlets covering trial developments and social media platforms such as TikTok lighting up with commentary. The #MeToo movement organisation called the responses to the trial a “toxic catastrophe and one of the biggest defamations of the movement we have ever seen,” adding it had been “confronted with the mockery of assault, shame and blame.”
Following the jury decision, the organisers wrote, “So many survivors- women, in particular- will feel defeated in this moment. Healing often can’t be found in the court room or in a jury decision…. but it’s still possible.”
The movement’s founder, Tarana Burke, added on Instagram, “The movement is very much ALIVE.”