In an essay for OprahDaily.com, author Joyce Maynard has revealed her fascination with the just-concluded defamation trail of Johnny Depp and Amber Heard. Her surprising conclusion: someone abused Heard. Just not Depp.
Maynard knows about tempestuous relationships. She released a 1998 memoir, At Home in the World, detailing her abusive live-in situation with iconic Catcher in the Rye author J.D. Salinger. She was villified for writing about the notoriously private Salinger, and accused of trying to vengefully destroy him, much as Heard was portrayed.
Given that background, Maynard came into the trial coverage with her own prejudices. She wrote that the online abuse of Heard “confirm the deeply entrenched misogyny in our culture and the zeal with which it continues to shame women.”
However, her initial impressions changed after extensively watching the legal proceedings.
“Here’s an alternative view,” Maynard wrote in her essay. “Maybe yesterday’s verdict served to differentiate true claims of partner violence from defamatory allegations. The jury’s decision affirms that domestic violence takes many forms, and that as much as it has been women who stand in greatest jeopardy of being its victims, a woman may also be the instigator or aggressor. For a woman, there may be no deadlier or more effective way of committing violence against a man than to call him out as an abuser.”
Depp deserved cancellation if he truly did the things Heard accused him of doing. But, Maynard allowed, “If, as the jury concluded, Heard fabricated her story, then she took a lot more from him than some big-budget movie roles and a fingertip.”
Soon, Depp’s demeanor and answers to questions “caused me to question my initial assumptions,” Maynard wrote.
“Depp delivered his testimony in a thoughtful, sober tone of voice that displayed humility and self-awareness and owned up to his many failings,” Maynard wrote. “No such acknowledgement could be found in the testimony of Amber Heard.”
While allowing that Depp is an actor, Maynard was not convinced by Heard’s demeanor or answers. “Throughout the trial, she struck me—as she evidently did the jury—as a woman not so much recounting actual events as playing a role.”
Maynard concluded, ”I’d be willing to bet that somebody abused Amber Heard. Just not the man she wrote about in The Washington Post.”
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