Miltenberg: “Victory for Johnny Depp is not a setback for women”, NJ.com

6.6.22

The highly-anticipated verdict in the defamation case between Johnny Depp and his ex-wife, Amber Heard, has been delivered, with the seven-person jury siding with Depp, awarding him $15 million in damages. Ms. Heard also received $2 million for one instance of defamation by Depp’s attorney against her. But the public reaction — particularly by mainstream media — was as divisive as it is in the wake of presidential election results.

Much of my legal practice has focused on two areas of law: defamation and sexual misconduct. This case encompassed a lot of the issues I deal with and see on a daily basis, not only within the law but in the perception of others. How people perceive accusations depends on the sex of the accuser and accused. I have represented both women and men accusers, as well as female and male accused parties. I have seen firsthand the many ways a decision-maker will disregard or discredit evidence that favors male clients, while my female clients don’t face the same hurdles.

I have also spoken to many male clients about their fears and hesitation about coming forward with physical or sexual abuse claims because “no one believes guys.” Luckily, the majority of my cases play out privately, but seeing the very public reactions to the Depp/Heard trial and verdict proves my clients’ fears are justified.

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