• Fiona Prior

Johnny vs Amber

Updated: Jun 10

Johnny loves Amber

Johnny loved Amber

Johnny sues Amber


What a circus has been the libel lawsuit mounted by Johnny Depp against Amber Heard.

More trashy and compelling than ‘Succession’, more tragic than ‘Love Story’, we have heard the ins and outs of a dysfunctional relationship involving two high profile celebrities as it sunk to the most appalling depths of disrespect and mutual contempt… played out on screen with continuous opinion pieces by anyone who cared to use their keyboard. And ‘Me too!’ I guess, both with regards to a political and social movement as well as using my keyboard to comment.

Firstly, both Depp and Heard undisputedly behaved appallingly towards each other, as told in horrific detail in the hearing. That goes without saying. But slightly detouring from this, what is it about our society that always seems to present the male as roguish and a bit of a lad, while the women is cast as a sinful whinger? In line with when a married man has an extramarital relationship, it so frequently is the woman who is demonised as someone who has completely disrespected the wife and is therefore cast out of the sisterhood. What about the husband? Surely he is just as reprehensible, yet ‘she’ would appear appear the scarlet women and ‘he’ the poor weak man who keeps his male friends and who frequently is forgiven by the world.


Even in recent cases of corporate relationship outings ̶ for instance, between a high profile Australian retailer executive and his office junior ̶ only months later he became CEO of a hugely profitable billion dollar rag trade empire while she pretty much disappeared from view. I would bet that his former lover would have found it far more uncomfortable and challenging to find new employment. And don’t forget Amber Harrison’s case, when her relationship with a high profile Channel Seven media executive was outed. Her past life in revealing detail was splashed throughout the tabloids; the sort of reveal that could easily be seen as a move to make her appear the solely culpable ‘bad girl’ of the extramarital liaison.


I am putting this opinion to page because I feel that the reputations and work prospects of the above women in the above cases seem disproportionately damaged in relation to the careers of their male partners in crime. And I feel that this is because of some psychological programming that many of us hold, that both policy and judicial process are not able to reconcile.


And I’ll leave you with one question that is completely tangential but I believe will give you pause for thought about our psychological programming. What if Will Smith (he who punched MC Chris Rock so famously at the Oscar Awards ceremony this year), had been a white man?



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