Cannot be derailed! Emma Thompson on how Amber Heards trial affects MeToo

Cannot be derailed! Emma Thompson on how Amber Heards trial affects MeToo

06/09/2022

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Fellow actress Emma Thompson spoke out after fears that the public response to the Johnny Depp vs Amber Heard defamation trial would deter alleged victims of sexual abuse from speaking out in the future, in fear of being judged. The 63-year-old Oscar winner suggested that the case had been “blown out of proportion” in the media and was “not representative” of the average abuse victim.

“One of the great issues to do with that case is fame and how people who are famous are treated differently and viewed differently,” she stated.

“In order for [the MeToo movement] not to be derailed, we just have to keep on talking,” she insisted.

“We have to refuse to allow it to be derailed by a case [of] two very, very, very famous people, which has been blown out of all remote human proportion by the press.”

She emphasised: “A case where the two protagonists are famous is not representative… it’s important to remember that.”

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The determined actress continued, during a conversation on BBC’s Woman’s Hour: “This movement, which is about human kindness and is so simple [but] has been made so complicated, cannot and will not be derailed by one case.”

She made her impassioned comments after being asked whether she believed the verdict would change the culture surrounding speaking out.

The movement had gained momentum, especially in the film industry, after the widely publicised trial of producer Harvey Weinstein.

He was convicted in 2020 of the sexual assault and rape of numerous women and jailed for 23 years.

The landmark case was considered a victory for women’s rights at the time.

However some have claimed that the tide was turned by the aggressive reaction of some members of the public to Amber’s court testimony.

While the tearful Aquaman actress claimed in court she had been sexually assaulted with a bottle, kicked, head-butted and subjected to violence, all of which Johnny denied, many on social media jeered and expressed their disbelief, with Johnny’s legion of loyal fans defending him.

Johnny won all three defamation claims against Amber and was awarded $15 million in damages by the jury at the court in Fairfax, Virginia, but Amber will only have to pay him $10.35 million due to a Virginia law capping punitive damages.

In turn, Johnny was found to have defamed Amber on one of three countersuit claims she launched against him, and the Aquaman actress was thus awarded $2 million in damages by the court.

Amber has contested the decision, while her lawyers insisted that she could not pay and planned to appeal.

It has been reported that Johnny’s lawyers could consider waiving the charges against her on the condition that she waives her right to the appeal, although nothing has been formally declared so far.

Meanwhile Emma has maintained her support of MeToo since the movement first emerged.

After it was claimed some men were unsure how to behave towards women in the wake of the movement, she blasted: “Get a grip, guys!

“It’s not rocket science, you just behave with respect and courtesy,” she exclaimed to the LA Times.

She added that any men who were still confused should “shut up” and simply “get on with it”.

Emma’s latest film, Good Luck To You, Leo Grande, is an exploration of female sexuality and pleasure – but with an emphasis on women’s terms.

The comedy-drama, in which Emma’s character hires a much younger male sex worker, will be released via Hulu on June 17.

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