Fame not an excuse for victim-blaming

Caroline Lozano/ Contributing Writer

I’ve always admired Johnny Depp for his acting ability and the films he starred in. Some of his films like “Edward Scissorhands” and “Corpse Bride” remain among my favorites even today.

But when news about Depp’s domestic abuse scandal emerged last year, I was both shocked and disappointed. I will never see Depp the same way again. What shocked me more, however, was the unwarranted hatred that was directed at his now ex-wife, Amber Heard, mostly by his fans.

Comments ranging from “gold digger” to “attention-seeker”  to describe Heard were thrown around in comment sections even after she released proof of his assaults with photos.  At first, I couldn’t understand why so much anger was being forced onto the shoulders of this young woman. What exactly did Heard do to merit this type of attention?

Depp isn’t perfect; he’s human, despite what some of his movies may tell us. Why were people defending him so much?

The answer is clearer than glass, I think. If it weren’t for Depp’s fame, wealth and status in Hollywood, the repercussions for his supposed actions against Heard would’ve destroyed his career in the blink of an eye.

The fact is, many people can’t find it in themselves to believe that their beloved actor, actress or musician could commit such a horrible crime. They raise their celebrity to the level of a deity and thus, the latter becomes untouchable.

Denial sets in and anger is then shoved onto the accuser, who is made to look like the villain. Unfortunately, Depp’s abuse towards Heard is just a number on a long list of public figures who’ve abused their partners.

Actors and musicians alike such as Sean Penn, John Lennon, Chris Brown and Michael Fassbender have abused or been accused of abuse by their former girlfriends and wives. And it’s been happening for a long time.

In Penn’s case, he committed violence against his-then wife Madonna (yes, the Material Girl) by torturing her for nine hours in 1987, according to The Huffington Post. Without much regard about his treatment of Madonna, Penn became successful in the industry.

The same Huffington Post article states that Penn “has gone on to star in dozens of critically-acclaimed movies, won two Academy Awards, and become a champion of numerous political and social causes.”

This occurs with many celebrity cases, where the man walks away from the ordeal without so much a scratch on his career.

Another example, Casey Affleck has had several allegations of sexual harassment and verbal abuse against him and yet, he still won Actor in a Leading Role at the Academy Awards earlier this year.

Where was the outrage? Where were the avalanche of comments calling Affleck degrading names?

Heard and the other women who were brave enough to report their abusers didn’t gain anything from their accusations. They risked their careers by calling out these men on their alleged behavior.

Victim-blaming only prevents a woman from reporting a crime and creates a cycle where abuse lingers. It also permits these celebrities, who are used to being accoladed with praises and awards, to continue their actions without punishment.

A line has to be drawn somewhere. People should be aware that their favorite actors, musicians, NFL players or whoever are capable of being awful people, just like anyone else.

Fame and fortune does not excuse someone for their actions.



The opinions presented within this page do not represent the views of Panther Press Editorial Board. These views are separate from editorials and reflect individual perspectives of contributing writers and/or members of the University community.


Photo taken from Flickr.

Be the first to comment on "Fame not an excuse for victim-blaming"

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.