Depp v. Heard: The Cultural Impact Of Celebrity Abuse Cases

It’s “believe all women,” until women point a finger at a male figure you like. The Depp v. Heard trial took over every corner of the internet from social media bots to YouTubers and TikTokers, much thanks to misinformation spreading from the Alt-Right and their propensity to meme-ify news moments to their advantage. The cultural impact of celebrity abuse cases, especially Depp v. Heard, will set a severe precedent for years to come.

This trial is further complicated when we look at the tactics that convinced otherwise feminist and liberal viewers that Heard is not a credible victim. An opinion created and backed by right-wing conspiracies, Alt-Right misinformation tactics, and the mainstream media’s inability to ignore the “they both sound bad” narrative. But this isn’t the only time a powerful man in Hollywood has used his fame to turn the general public against a woman.

We’ve seen this over the years: Mariah Carey and Tommy Mottola, Kesha and Dr Luke. More recently we’ve seen  the highly publicized shooting of Megan Thee Stallion allegedly by Tory Lanez. And now Marilyn Manson is pulling out all the stops to continue his abuse towards Evan Rachel Wood in another lawsuit. All to say, the internet has been having a field day with female survivors of abuse at the hands of powerful men. 

We’re joined by culture writer Aja Romano to look deep into the cultural impact of celebrity abuse trials and just how far from the truth the conversation can go when the dark sides of the internet come out to play.

If you want to check out Aja’s work you can do so here or follow her on Twitter or Tumblr!

Enjoyed this episode of Name 3 Songs and want to learn more? Check out these episodes covering similar themes: The Most Exploitative Men in Music (with Troy McEady) & Sexual Misconduct and Accountability in Alternative Music

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Sources for Depp v. Heard: The Cultural Impact Of Celebrity Abuse Cases

Why The Internet Hates Amber (The Atlantic, Kaitlyn Tiffany, May 2022)

Why the Depp-Heard trial is so much worse than you realize (Vox, Aja Romano, May 2022)

The bleak spectacle of the Amber Heard-Johnny Depp trial (Michael Hobbes, The Present Age, June 2, 2022)

Johnny Depp seeks delay to US defamation trial due to Fantastic Beasts 3 filming (BBC, September 2020)

Johnny Depp loses libel case over Sun ‘wife beater’ claim (BBC, November 2020)

What we still haven’t learned from Gamergate (Vox, Aja Romano, Jan 2021)

Untangling Kesha and Dr. Luke’s Years-Long Legal War: A Timeline (Pitchfork, Marc Hogan, February 2010)

Kesha Suffers Another Defeat In Dr. Luke Defamation Case (Billboard, Bill Donahue, April 2022)

Megan Thee Stallion Wants Tory Lanez To Go To Jail For Allegedly Shooting Her (Forbes, Marisa Dellatto, June 2022)

Megan Thee Stallion Will Not Back Down (Rolling Stone, Mankaprr Coneth, June 2022)

Instagram post from Evan Rachel Wood with statement alleging Marilyn Manson as an abuser (February 2021)

Marilyn Manson’s ‘Blood Pact’ With Evan Rachel Wood and 13 Other Things We Learned From ‘Phoenix Rising’ (Rolling Stone, Kory Grow, March 2015)

Marilyn Manson Sues Evan Rachel Wood for Defamation, Distress, Impersonating FBI (Rolling Stone, Kory Grow, March 2, 2022)

Mariah Carey Says Being Married to Tommy Mottola Was ‘Like Being a Prisoner’ (The Cut by Melinda Fakuade, 2019)

Tommy Mottola on Relationship With Mariah Carey: ‘Absolutely Wrong and Inappropriate’ (Billboard by Chris Talbott, 2013)

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