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Give power back to the truth

By Adam Levine

Editorial Staff

There are more than two sides to every story, and the truth lies somewhere amidst them all.

In 2016, American actress Amber Heard filed a divorce from her husband of 15 months, American actor and musician Johnny Depp.

Heard additionally filed a restraining order against Depp, claiming he physically and verbally abused her during their marriage.

Later, still in 2016, Depp and Heard settled their divorce, in which Heard received $7 million.

In 2018, Heard described herself as a “public figure representing domestic abuse” in an op-ed in The Washington Post.

Although Heard never mentioned Depp by name in her op-ed, Depp filed a $50 million defamation suit in 2019. Heard responded to this with a $100 million defamation countersuit.

The jury found Depp and Heard both liable for defaming each other, awarding Depp $15 million in damages from Heard, and awarding Heard $2 million from Depp, according to Insider.

In the end, no one won.

Through my own research of the case, I felt conflicted on what side to believe and who to believe was the victim.

At the beginning, I was ashamed of being a fan of Depp for the disgusting things he was accused of.

During the trial, I saw Depp take the stand and plead a case. I no longer saw him as a celebrity, but rather as a man beaten and drained by these accusations.

As I read more on the case, and continue to read more, I no longer know how to feel.

In 2022, New York Times writer Jeremy W. Peters published an opinion titled “Depp Trial Exposes Risks to Media in Airing #MeToo Accusations.”

In 2022, New York Times opinion columnist Michelle Goldberg published an op-ed titled “The Amber Heard Verdict Was a Travesty. Others Will Follow.”

There are more than two sides to every story.

Peters explored the problems that can arise with publishing accusations of abuse. Goldberg explored the perspective of the jury's decisions and its relationship to other victims - the problems that may arise with victims being scared to step forward.

In 2021, Lindsay Hill accused professional baseball player Trevor Bauer of sexually assaulting her.

Peters’ and Goldbergs’ articles could not be any more prevalent in the recent case of Trevor Bauer and Lindsay Hill.

Bauer won the National League Cy Young award during the COVID-19-shortened 2020 season. Just after, he signed a three-year, $102 million contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Despite his elite playing, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred suspended Bauer for 324 games in April 2021. An arbitrator later cut the suspension down to 194 games in December 2022, but at that point the Dodgers already released Bauer from their roster.

According to NPR, it is estimated that Bauer will lose $37.6 million due to his suspension and it is still unclear whether or not another MLB team will sign him.

On Oct. 2, Bauer and Hill continued to deny each other’s claims, but agreed to settle the case without either side paying, according to The Washington Post.

I first heard of this case from seeing a video Bauer posted on X, formerly Twitter, in which he shared details of the case that were no longer confidential after the settlement.

After hearing his portrayal of the case, and brief research of my own, I felt bad for Bauer, who I viewed as a victim. He lost part of his career, money, and his reputation.

I continued to read.

Hill, who at one point was viewed as a victim, is now seen by many as a malicious woman who was chasing Bauer’s money, and is now a victim in a different way.

There are more than two sides to every story, and the truth lies somewhere amidst them all.

I urge victims to always speak up.

But more importantly, I urge the world to step back, read, research, and understand as many sides of the story before you claim to know the truth - before you claim to identify the victim.

The truth has lost power over the years.

I fell into the trap of claiming to know the truth and in the end, I took away power from the truth.

Give power back to the truth.

Give power back to victims.

Give victims the power to have their truth heard.


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