Somy Ali on Johnny Depp-Amber Heard trial:
Johnny Depp and Amber Heard’s six-week-long trial that has been making headlines has finally come to an end with Depp winning the verdict. Actor turned humanitarian Somy Ali, much like many others across the globe, has closely watched the case. She opines about the proceedings being televised as Penney Azcarate, the chief judge of Fairfax County (Va.) Circuit Court allowed the operation of two pool cameras by Court TV inside the courtroom.
“I followed this trial like a complete addict due to the nature of my work and for a very significant reason: Men are victims too! Do I know for certain what Amber Heard stated throughout the trial was the absolute truth? No. Do I think she was credible on the stand in comparison to over 30,000 victims I have seen while running NMT, the answer is an absolute NO. Heard also failed when it came to presenting forensic evidence,” says Somy, who’s NGO, NO More Tears, in Miami, works towards the betterment of women and children.
She continues, “My views on this trial will come across as rather schizophrenic because it seems as though two individuals with major unaddressed psychological issues/traumas jumped onto a crazy train and decided to stay on for as long as they could. It’s evident that Deppwanted to clear his name, but he had no qualms in letting the world in on his alcohol and drug issues. This went in his favour and he appeared genuine when he was cross examined or whenever he took the stand. I do not believe that Heard was sexually assaulted by Depp. However, I do believe that they both engaged in verbal and physical abuse towards one another in the relationship. We all heard the recordings of abusive nature. I believe Heard provoked Depp and if one is on drugs and alcohol as Depp was, the provocation can lead to domestic violence within a matter of seconds which is not an excuse by any means. I am ambiguous about the verdict because I can gauge from watching the trial in its entirety and my experience of 15 years that they were both abusive toward one another. Thus, while Heard looked disingenuous and exaggerated on the stand, I still believe that there were times where Depp did slap or hit her.”
Somy supports televising trials when it comes to domestic violence, more so, when the victim is a male as that’s rarely believed and men are less likely to admit to it. However, according to her, it’s a shame when a trial such as this was turned into a mockery of the very crimes such as domestic violence and sexual battery.
“This seemed more like a circus than a trial in my opinion. Depp is much too big of a star with a huge fan following that it would be implausible for him to fail. Also, this was not a Bill Cosby or Harvey Weinstein type of crime where it was completely clear cut that the former mentioned were completely despicable humans and criminals. Depp and Heard, both as individuals contained a great deal of gray as opposed to Cosby and Weinstein being straight out a black and white issue. These issues should be televised globally, not just in India. All said and done I deem this to be a beginning of our society accepting the fact that men can be victims too. My organisation has assisted several male victims and it’s about time this is accepted to be a norm. Once again, I blame our society for pressuring little boys by saying that only girls can cry and if boys cry, they are not manly. This is all rubbish and ignorant talk because there is nothing wrong with young boys or grown men being emotional or expressing their emotions. Thus, while it’s a step forward, I will end by quoting the writer, Megan Garber, ‘When allegations of abuse become fodder for national comedy that is its own evidence—and its own verdict’,” she signs off.
Celebs on whether televising the court proceedings was the correct approach or not:
Since I was a child, I always had this question as to why can’t every common man see what is going on in a courtroom, why is there not transparency? I have heard many cases where people spent their whole life in the courtroom. Well, take Shah RukhKhan’s son, Aryan’s case for example. The court did not find anything but still, he was harassed. If this format was followed in this case also, then the verdict would have been faster and more accurate. Right now, I don’t have any idea whether this format will succeed in India or not, but I am sure this format will change lots of things and it will be a revolutionary decision. I must also add that from whatever I have heard, I am satisfied with the verdict in the Depp-Heard case.
Samer Singh Dawar
Depp and Heard proceedings have been a hot topic for a long time and given the magnitude of star power involved, it was expected to be like this. Personally, I did keep myself updated on how things were developing over time, without going into too much detail though. With whatever knowledge I have regarding this case, it was a fair verdict for me. Also, I actually liked the idea of it being televised. Movements like #metoo got massive support as it rightly should, supporting women and letting them come out and share those horror stories that they experienced. But at the same time, it also allowed some women to take advantage and falsely accuse innocent men. Such cases, when brought to justice, hardly get the same attention as during the beginning of the case, which in my opinion, takes away a chance at redemption from the wrongly accused. With the Johnny Depp and Amber Hand case being of such a massive magnitude, it was only fair to let the world know about the case and its verdict unfiltered by having televised the proceedings. It allowed people to have an opinion that wasn’t moulded by the press or word of mouth. I hope such proceedings start happening in India too and the audience gets to know only the truth.
Yes, I have seen the proceedings in bits and parts. People have been posting it everywhere and it has been mentioned very profusely in the media lately. But in my opinion personal life should remain personal and if a couple has decided to go to court they have the right for privacy. This should not be displayed in public as it’s a private matter, so it should remain like that. I didn’t follow the entire proceedings, so I am not very aware of it as I did not like the concept of everything getting televised.