Depp vs. Heard: Sam Fender’s selfie with Johnny Depp in a pub was a huge misstep in a brilliant career


Ah, Sam Fender. We agreed that you would attend bbc breakfast with a historic hangover, even when it looked like you were going to throw up. In fact, it was the kind of thing that made people like you even more. But posting a selfie with Johnny Depp seconds after the verdict was announced in his Amber Heard trial? Oh! Depp might have won the case, but in the picture, taken at Newcastle’s The Bridge Tavern beer garden on the last day of the biggest celebrity court drama of the decade, Fender makes no mention of such legal matters. Instead, Fender calls Depp and his rocker friend Jeff Beck “true heroes.”

The US court may have ruled that Heard damaged Depp’s career because of a 2018 op-ed he wrote about domestic violence, which didn’t mention Depp at all, but something bigger was always at stake: the outcome of the UK libel suit Depp lost against The Sun in 2020, after he was labeled a “wife beater.” The result of this first trial still stands, as do the statements of the judge of the High Court of the United Kingdom, Andrew Nicol, who determined that the language of the newspaper was not defamatory, since “the great majority of the alleged aggressions of the Ms. Heard by Mr. Depp have been tested by the standard of civil justice.”

Nicol confirmed that 12 of the 14 alleged domestic violence cases against Heard occurred, and used them as evidence to rule against Depp. And while Heard may have lost the larger defamation case in the latest trial, in which Depp sought $50 million in damages, she was also awarded $2 million because Depp’s lawyer called her abuse allegations “a hoax.” . On this side of the pond, Depp is legally a known domestic abuser. These don’t sound like the actions of a “real hero”.

Fender isn’t alone in showing support for Depp on social media in the wake of such a serious statement. Among the many celebrities who “liked” Depp’s official statement were Lakeith Stanfield, Emma Roberts, Gemma Chan, Bella Hadid, Taika Waititi, Jennifer Aniston, Riley Keough and Jason Momoawho stars alongside Heard in the films of Aquaman, though Momoa also liked Heard’s post-case statement. Of course, they have the right to say and support whoever and what they choose, but even if they have sided with Depp and believe that there was no abuse, it is impossible to ignore the fact that during the case, Heard was subjected to a heartbreaking mockery on social media in which online abuse, including death and rape threats, was a daily occurrence.

The next day, Fender removed the post from his account, perhaps because he had regrets or was advised to remove it, but the fact that his support for Depp, even if it’s just over a few beers, comes only days after his show. A fundraiser at Newcastle Town Hall for the North East Homeless housing charity makes this moment of support for the actor all the more disappointing. Fender, a compassionate and sincere 28-year-old from North Shields, has long fought for the underprivileged. He raised money for The Big Issue, asked UK authorities to stop charging for community emergency helplines, helped out at food banks. In a interview last year with Guardian, spoke out against “the great disparity between the 1 percent and the rest of the world.” Fender stated that “these culture wars are valid wars that need to be fought: there’s a lot of bigotry, there’s a lot of racism and homophobia.” Fender cares about people, that’s obvious. So for someone so committed to amplifying the voices of those who are usually silenced, the fact that he has managed to align himself with the sweeping wave of misogyny that has come along with Depp’s victory celebrations feels like a serious step. false

There’s not much we can do about the fact that rock’n’roll’s old guard is apparently on Depp’s side, from Jeff Beck proudly taking him on tour, to Paul McCartney flashing Depp’s face on the big screens. during his last shows in the US But for a young guitar star on the rise, a little more sensitivity would have been welcome.

Depp’s case may have been about defamation rather than domestic violence, but some people still think his victory will make victims of abuse less likely to come forward. “I am even more disappointed in what this verdict means for other women,” Heard said in a statement issued after the case was closed. “It is a step backwards. It turns the clock back to a time when a woman who spoke up and spoke up could be publicly shamed and humiliated.”

It’s something that will be even worse for those who don’t have access to fancy lawyers and a cushion of money to fall back on if things don’t work out. “I get messages from women who say they are afraid of being sued for speaking out about the abuse they suffered,” lawyer and academic, Dr. Charlotte Proudman, wrote on Twitter, after the verdict was announced. “They have no money, no fame, no platform. They have their truth, but that is not enough; It has never been enough.”

Luckily, Fender knows that it’s pretty easy to make a mistake. “People put the stop”, he once said to NME. “Everyone is a flawed character. If you don’t admit that you have flaws, then you’re a fucking psychopath.” The fact that Fender removed the post perhaps means that he, hopefully, has realized that he made a mistake. What is the excuse of others?


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