Do we really need a Johnny Depp vs. Amber Heard documentary?

No. And yet Discovery + is giving us one anyway.

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Culture

If you were a human in the world this past spring, you basically couldn’t go anywhere without hearing about Johnny Depp’s $50 million defamation lawsuit against his ex-wife, Amber Heard, for writing a 2018 op-ed about domestic violence. The messy trial, which dragged every skeleton out of the A-list former couple’s closet — from absurd revelations like defecation in beds and writing in blood on walls, to very serious allegations of sexual and physical abuse — was a media circus. It also launched a second trial in the court of public opinion that largely sided with Depp, and led to gross harassment of Heard and her supporters on social media.

While some delighted in the court ultimately ruling in Depp’s favor, many also lamented the legal proceedings as a failure of justice for Heard and the Me Too movement at large. No matter which way you look at it, it was an ugly affair — so why is there a new docuseries coming out that will rehash the whole thing in graphic detail?

The two-part miniseries, which airs on Discovery+ on September 19, is billed as a followup to the streamer’s Johnny Vs. Amber, which chronicled Depp’s lawsuit in the UK against The Sun for calling him a “wife beater.” Depp conversely lost that case, with the judge saying in his ruling, “I accept [Heard’s] evidence of the nature of the assaults [Depp] committed against her. They must have been terrifying.” According to a statement from Discovery+, Johnny Vs. Amber: The US Trial will be a “forensic account of the key evidence and turning points of the case from both sides,” and reveal “in graphic detail the struggles inside the dysfunctional and turbulent A-list marriage.” The streamer also called Heard, “the woman the world chose to hate, but who kept on fighting.”

According to a press release, the docuseries will reportedly dedicate one episode to each person’s side of the case. The first will look at Depp’s “abusive childhood and drug dependencies” and present “an alternative version of events that show Johnny to be a victim of domestic abuse himself.” The second will delve into Heard’s experience, including “her detailed description of alleged sexual assault told on camera for the first time” and how “advocates of Depp mercilessly attacked her via social media.” But people on either side of the trial have already determined their stances. The docuseries will likely just add an extra breath to a story that has already been belabored and disheartening, continuing the voyeurism and exploitation of the trial only months after the verdict was even delivered. There aren’t any winners either in the project, just more fuel on a fire that we wish would go out already.