Johnny Depp’s victory Wednesday in his defamation lawsuit against ex-wife and fellow actor Amber Heard marks the end of the “believe all women” era in Hollywood, when the #metoo movement could end a male actor’s career on accusations alone.
Many of those accused during the #metoo era were, in fact, guilty — and brutally so. Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, a Clinton crony who lorded over Tinseltown, could spend the rest of his life in prison after being convicted of rape in 2020.
Though the movement began as a reaction to the presidency of Donald Trump, whom many on the left believed had been credibly accused of sexual misconduct, it exposed much of the endemic misogyny of supposedly “liberal” Hollywood.
But like many such left-wing movements, #metoo went too far. It turned porn star Stormy Daniels and her attorney, Michael Avenatti, into heroes, even awarding Daniels the key to the city of West Hollywood. (Daniels and Avenatti later had a falling out, and he was convicted of stealing from her.)
The #metoo movement reached its nadir in the confirmation hearings of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who faced absurd accusations of having been a gang rapist in high school, decades before.
But its real undoing came in the 2020 presidential campaign, when Democrats — with rare exceptions — ignored credible accusations by a former staffer for Joe Biden, Tara Reade, who claimed that he had sexually assaulted her in the 1990s.
That moral lapse could be explained, if not excused, by the “greater good” of defeating Trump. But the Depp case was simply about a woman accusing a powerful man — and the man fighting back in court.
Heard lamented her partial loss — she won a smaller counterclaim — as a defeat for women who speak out. Depp called his win a chance to return to “innocent until proven guilty.”
They are both right. #metoo made sure women will be heard; the Depp verdict means the accused must be heard, too.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.