Another #MeToo fraud: Amber Heard assaulted and abused Johnny Depp
Proof has come out that Amber Heard committed domestic violence against her then-husband Johnny Depp. Recordings obtained by The Daily Mail show an admitted history of violence by Heard. In this recording, Heard admits to hitting Depp, and “starting a physical fight.”
Her temper is so severe that she finds herself unable to control it, saying “You poke an animal enough, it is eventually, it doesn’t matter how friendly it is, it’s not cool.” She goes on to exhibit classic gaslighting behaviour, telling Depp she didn’t hurt him, despite having hit him. “’I’m sorry that I didn’t, uh, uh, hit you across the face in a proper slap, but I was hitting you, it was not punching you. Babe, you’re not punched… I don’t know what the motion of my actual hand was, but you’re fine, I did not hurt you, I did not punch you, I was hitting you.”
Domestic violence takes many forms, and the murder rate for women who suffer at the hands of domestic abusers is on the rise. In the U.S., 1 in 3 women and 1 in 10 men over the age of 18 fall prey to the brutality of those with whom they share a home life. Because it’s so essential that those who are in these precarious situations are able to seek out and access help, it’s truly egregious when a person uses accusations of domestic violence for personal gain. Such was the case with Amber Heard, ex-wife of Johnny Depp, who accused him of domestic abuse when she was as guilty of committing the same offense.
In 2018, Heard penned at op-ed in The Washington Post complaining that speaking up against domestic violence caused her professional harm. She wrote “Friends and advisers told me I would never again work as an actress—that I would be blacklisted. A movie I was attached to recast my role. I had just shot a two-year campaign as the face of a global fashion brand, and the company dropped me. Questions arose as to whether I would be able to keep my role of Mera in the movies Justice League and Aquaman.”
In this article, she never mentioned Depp’s name. But he was partially who she was talking about. She accused Depp in 2016 of domestic abuse, and took out a restraining order against him. Their divorce saga became very public, and Depp was accused in the press of being an abuser. He was ridiculed, and when he tried to state his side of the story, namely that he was hurt at her hands, he was further demonized.
Now that the recordings have been released, Twitter users have launched #JusticeForJohnnyDepp, sharing messages and gifs in support of the defamed actor. But where were all these people when he was falsely accused in the first place? The trend of people speaking up only when their bias has been confirmed, and not for the principles of things like due process and presuming innocence until guilt is proven, are as much a part of this problem as a media infrastructure that latches onto whatever is the most salacious detail and runs with it right off a cliff.
In the U.S., the number of domestic violence victims “rose to 2,237 in 2017, a 19 percent increase from the 1,875 killed in 2014… The majority of the victims in 2017 were women, a total of 1,527.” It’s so important that women who are victimized are able to get help for themselves and, in many cases, their children. But what Heard did when she used her substantial platform to denounce Depp for crimes she was guilty of herself did a disservice to the very cause for which she was advocating.
Men who suffer domestic abuse are often not taken seriously. Conventional wisdom is that men can’t get beaten up by girls, or that they are better able to defend themselves against the violence of the weaker sex. But none of that is a justification for abusing them, and it’s not always true. There’s also this crazy idea that many men are raised with that they shouldn’t hit women no matter what. This is a good principle, men shouldn’t hit women, and women who feel vulnerable to their own insane tempers need to grab control of that. Physical violence within the boundaries of a romantic partnership is never acceptable.
Heard knew that arguably from her own experience. In her op-ed, she wrote “I was exposed to abuse at a very young age. I knew certain things early on, without ever having to be told. I knew that men have the power—physically, socially and financially—and that a lot of institutions support that arrangement. I knew this long before I had the words to articulate it, and I bet you learned it young, too.” What Heard didn’t learn was that she had as much responsibility to not hurt others as the men in her life had to not hurt her.
Felicia Sonmez has received an outpouring of support from colleagues who were aghast at her suspension from the Washington Post. She was suspended after tweets reflecting mixed emotions over Kobe Bryant’s death, and while the media fusses and fumes over whether or not the suspension was justified, this is a classic case study in contemporary cancel culture. Sonmez took the reins on calling people out for alleged misdeeds, and now she’s being called out for her own.
It goes without saying that Sonmez should not have received death threats on Twitter about her mixed emotions about basketball legend Kobe Bryant’s tragic death. She shouldn’t have had to live in such fear that she retreated from her home to a hotel. All that is unacceptable, but in our age of cancellations and persistent moralistic vitriol, it’s what a person can expect when they befoul the Twitter stream. Sonmez probably should have known all this. She has been vocal about the necessity of removing men and women from their positions without the benefit of due process. This turn of events, where the social media verse turns on her for a couple of tweets wherein she expressed her personal view, should not come as a surprise.
Sonmez is one of the architects of the cancel culture that currently plagues us. She was one of the first accusers of former LA Times foreign correspondent Jonathan Kaiman, sending a letter to the LA Times in which she described him as exhibiting “problematic behaviour.” While they were both heavily intoxicated, by Sonmez’s own admission, she writes: “Even though parts of the evening were consensual, while on the way, Jon escalated things in a way that crossed a line.” She noted that the alcohol made it hard for her to remember, and Kaiman has stated that he remembers it differently. Though he refuted the story, he lost his job, and like Sonmez, he was afforded no due process.
Sonmez is also the person behind two mobbings of women writers. She tried to get Caitlin Flanagan and Emily Yoffe fired from their positions (at The Atlantic and Reason respectively) for the high crime of criticizing her.
Brett Kavanaugh was shamed by Sonmez for his lighthearted speech to The Federalist Society in 2014, which she published along with excoriations against him and his college behaviours. She called him out for comments such as “Always act as if your actions are public,” and “You will make mistakes. Sometimes big ones. Admit it, resolve not to do it again, and make sure you don’t do it again.” Apparently that’s no good when you’re going to end up in confirmation hearings before the Senate and a woman who you don’t even remember ever meeting accuses you of raping her at a party you’re pretty sure you didn’t attend.
Now it’s Sonmez’s job on the chopping block. Maybe she’s looking for a way to apologize and keep her career intact, or maybe she’s going to double down. Neither, as we have seen, is likely to lead to success. There’s no due process for stupid tweets, and we know from years of this nonsense that apologies only lead to further public abrasions. Probably, she won’t lose her friends, so that’s lucky. Lots of her friends and colleagues don’t understand what the big deal is, or why so many in the media are out for her job. Hundreds of her colleagues have signed a letter to Marty Baron and Tracy Grant stating that they don’t think it’s fair that she should have been suspended. The Washington Post’s union has condemned the actions of management.
What they don’t seem to understand is that the plight of Felicia Sonmez is an object and abject lesson about cancel culture. She has done this to others. She has called for the suspension of due process and the termination, of her own peers. Her voice has loudly denounced those who have been hit with allegations without evidence. Sonmez has helped us get used to the idea that accusations are enough to take you down. It’s a commonplace idea, now, thanks to her and her peers in thought crime. Once we are so long immersed in the sludge of it, turnabout seems like fair play.
It isn’t, of course. Everyone deserves a second chance (or a proper first chance)—an opportunity to clear their name, to shake off wrongful incriminations and proceed with life and livelihood. It’s better when we do away with game theory and start treating each other like human beings. After all, life is not a game and the people we love are not players. Sonmez foolishly thought she would always thrive in a world without due process. She thought that due process was irrelevant when we could all discern the truth based on platitudes and hashtag callouts. But her situation is illustrative of the truth that no one survives in such a world. That’s the nature of this beast. The accuser will always become the accused.
Don’t believe us? Just wait.
MMA fighter Fallon Fox, who twice broke an opponent’s skull to win a match, has been called the bravest athlete in history. Fox, a male to female transgender athlete, destroyed Erika Newsome in a Coral Gables, FL, MMA fight during which she “secured a grip on Newsome’s head… With her hands gripping the back of Newsome’s skull, she delivered a massive knee, bringing her leg up while pulling her opponent’s head down. The blow landed on Newsome’s chin and dropped her, unconscious, face-first on the mat.” That was Newsome’s last pro fight.
But to Outsports, a male-bodied person beating a female bodied person unconscious constitutes bravery. Not only has Fox beat up women in the ring, won every match but one, but has weathered online attacks from the likes of Joe Rogan. I think we can all agree that getting back online after Joe Rogan has knocked you down is far braver than facing another male-bodied of your own muscle mass and size in a fight.
Fox also beat Tamikka Brents, giving her a concussion and breaking 7 orbital bones. But that’s super brave, too, taking an unfair, male-bodied advantage and using it to give female-bodied opponents brain injuries.
Vice defended Fox, saying “Fallon was born with a peen. No one’s perfect. I throw away too much salad. She was raised as a dude, as I am told is traditional in Ohio for babies born with outwardly expressive genitalia. But that peen never did sit right with her and, since 2008, she has been a woman in mind, body, and soul.” Brents was not told that Fox was trans before the fight.
“I’ve fought a lot of women and have never felt the strength that I felt in a fight as I did that night,” Brents said, recounting her experience fighting Fox. “I can’t answer whether it’s because she was born a man or not because I’m not a doctor. I can only say, I’ve never felt so overpowered ever in my life and I am an abnormally strong female in my own right… I still disagree with Fox fighting. Any other job or career I say have a go at it, but when it comes to a combat sport I think it just isn’t fair.” Vice said this was just “whining.”
There has been much debate over what makes a woman, since the early poets all the way up to Vice Magazine. While the consensus used to be that they were mystical, mysterious, coquettish beings who ruined men with their wily charms, beings to be possessed, owned, sold, and abused, the women’s suffrage movement and the fight for women’s rights came along and vanquished the old ideas, claiming instead that women were just people, people with female bodies.
Thanks to the trans movement we can get back to the original notion that to be a woman is to possess a special kind of soul that makes you want to be oppressed, beaten, bloodied, and cared for. Ah, progress.
There is no consensus among sporting organizations as to what gives a man enough of a disadvantage to compete against women. The International Olympic Committee says that a male needs to suppress testosterone to be at or below 10 nanomules per litre of blood for a period of one year prior to competition. Females who take testosterone would need years of hormones to get up to that.
Muscle mass does not substantially decrease with hormone treatment. Eradication of genitals does not diminish bone density. There are no cohesive Federal laws in the US to determine what makes a male eligible to compete against women, and while males have won women’s championships, female-bodied athletes have not risen to the upper levels of male competition.
Speaking to Outsports, Fox says “My teammates had no idea I was trans. They recognized my endurance, my strength, my ability to cut weight in the same category as cisgender women. There was no idea in their minds that I didn’t belong. They weren’t thinking, ‘oh my God, she’s going to kill somebody.’” That Fox can pass as a woman doesn’t negate her male advantages, nothing can.
Fox was outed against her will, which led to her induction into the LGBT Sports Hall Of Fame. This is where Fox’s bravery came into play. When the UFC and MMA promoters like Invicta declined to let her compete against women, Fox determined to keep beating up women anyway. Time will tell if MMA gives her another chance.
One of Twitter’s most prominent antifa doxing activists has been accused of blackmail, racism and engaging in predatory behaviour toward underage girls, according to a Medium post made by an alleged former housemate. Additionally, the allegations have brought renewed scrutiny to the “cyber warrior’s” rise to antifa stardom.
By day, Christian Michael Exoo is a 38-year-old library supervisor at St. Lawrence University in Canton, New York. However—online—Exoo uses the moniker “AntiFashGordon.” He has gained a large following in left-wing networks for his activism with antifa and by releasing “doxes,” or personal information, of his ideological opponents to his 25,000 followers on Twitter.
Exoo proudly boasts on his Twitter biography that he has gotten people fired from jobs, removed from schools and kicked out of homes.
Before becoming an online antifa activist, Exoo contributed to Salon, Alternet, Truthout, and other left-wing media outlets. Exoo also worked for Weave News, a left-wing citizen-journalist and activist group that was founded at and funded by St. Lawrence University, where his father, mother, and brother are employed as professors. Exoo was also a one-time aspiring actor.
With an undergraduate degree in information science, Exoo teaches doxing training seminars under the euphemism of “open-source intelligence research.” In 2017, he trained students at St. Lawrence at a conference organized by Weave News. In one presentation slide to his class, it read: “In this exercise, we are going to find the Facebook profile of our subject, and find all of the posts he’s ‘liked.’”
Victims of doxing suffer public shaming and often real-word harassment and death threats. Left-wing defenders of doxing say it is necessary to reveal and punish the far-right. But Jesse Morton, a former Islamic radical and now counter-extremism expert, says that victims of doxing are often radicalized further because of it.
“There are certain cases where it has silenced ideologues clearly calling to violent extremism, but the effects are often counterproductive,” Morton says. “It only cements the views of those doxed, can trigger violence and further entrenches extremists in the view that they’re under attack.”
Morton spent three-and-a-half years in federal prison for his involvement with an Islamic terrorist group. Since 2016, Morton has been involved in counter-terrorism work and currently leads Light Upon Light, a Washington D.C.-based counter-hate nonprofit.
“[AntiFashGordon’s] efforts only fuel the far-right’s propaganda,” Morton says. “They provide evidence for the victimization narrative that drives recruitment and thereby make it incredibly easy to replace any member doxed into leaving with several more recruits.”
Under his pseudonym, Exoo has been interviewed and praised in numerous stories for his role in being a powerful antifa “cyber warrior.” But a recent Medium post by “Sora M.C.,” who claims to be an ex-housemate of Exoo, accuses him of frequently using a slew of racial slurs in the course of his “investigative” work and of general predatory behaviour.
The anonymous author writes: “I’m here because I’m a young, Black, transgender activist delivering a warning to organizers once again after having been psychologically manipulated by an egotistical and power-abusing person who has a pattern of inappropriate behaviour on- and off-line.”
The writer continues: “His motivations are primarily to aggrandize himself and make him feel admired by others—to be a white saviour.”
The author describes a time where the two were in a grocery store together, and Exoo allegedly seemed excited that an underage girl had flirted with him.
The author also goes on to state other examples of how Exoo allegedly acted in an abusive or inappropriate manner that left them uncomfortable on multiple occasions, including one incident of alleged inappropriate touching.
“Sora M.C.,” says some of these allegations were previously published on Twitter last summer, but they deleted it after Exoo allegedly held their personal items “hostage.”
Exoo has been exceptionally careful in removing his name and traces of his identity from any of his current social media accounts. However, his alleged involvement in a doxing project that defrauded people into disclosing their addresses may have backfired.
In summer 2018, a website offering free anti-antifa t-shirts was circulated and shared among right-wing users on Facebook. However, the site was a fraudulent project that never had any merchandise and instead was used to fool some three-dozen people into giving their names, phone numbers and addresses, which were then released publicly. The site asked victims to pay money in order to have their information removed. It is unknown if any money was transferred.
A crowd-sourced investigation found the site’s domain was purchased through Bluehost by Christian Exoo. After that revelation, Exoo temporarily locked the “@AntiFashGordon” account and deleted his personal Twitter and Facebook accounts.
Twitter directed us to their private information policy when reached for comment on how they handle doxing on their platform.
“You may not publish or post other people’s private information without their express authorization and permission,” the policy states. “We also prohibit threatening to expose private information or incentivizing others to do so.”
“@AntiFashGordon” is still active on Twitter.
Before becoming a prominent online antifa doxing activist, Exoo had a long history of radical left-wing views. In 2017, he expressed support for political violence. “It’s really satisfying to punch a racist. They bleed nice, too,” he tweeted. Many of his posts conflate regular conservatives with the far-right and neo-Nazis.
Exoo also expressed support for George Ciccariello-Maher, the infamous former Drexel University associate professor who tweeted controversial posts calling for a police officer to be killed and voiced support for “white genocide,” among other things. Exoo signed a petition in support of Ciccariello-Maher in 2016 and also wrote on Twitter: [He] is a wonderful person, fantastic scholar, and a national treasure. Come at me, alt-right bros.”
While Exoo’s cyber activism exists within the online realm, his radical posts have appealed to at least one known extremist who unleashed his violent desires onto the real world. In August 2019, it was revealed that Connor Betts, the antifa black bloc activist who killed nine in a mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio, was a fan of Exoo.
Four months before his massacre, Betts was informed of a far-right rally in Dayton by none other than Exoo himself. “Thanks for the heads up,” Betts wrote in response to Exoo announcing the details of the event. At the protest, a witness who went to school with Betts said he saw him masked and carrying a rifle similar to the one he would later use in the August mass killing.
Christian Exoo did not respond to repeated queries for comment.
A new study published by the Harvard Business Review shows that in addition to men’s growing fears about women in the workforce and potentially being falsely accused, women are becoming more aware of the backlash and are actually less likely to hire certain women, specifically attractive women.
“Most of the reaction to #MeToo was celebratory; it assumed women were really going to benefit,” said Leanne Atwater, a management professor at the University of Houston. However, Atwater was skeptical. Rather than seeing an endless trail of steps forward before her, she and her colleagues forecasted a backlash.
“We said, ‘We aren’t sure this is going to go as positively as people think—there may be some fallout.’” And so, they tested their hypothesis.
The study began in early 2018. Two surveys were created, one for men and one for women. These surveys were then distributed to workers in various professional fields. In the end, they collected a large amount of data from 152 male and 303 female responders.
According to the study, 74% of women now say they are more willing now to speak out against harassment, while 77% of men anticipated being more careful about potentially inappropriate behaviour.
As for the idea that men do not know what constitutes harassment, the researchers found the opposite was true. Both genders appear to both know what constitutes harassment, and women may be more lenient with some of their own definitions of what constitutes harassment.
According to the report, “The surveys described 19 behaviors—for instance, continuing to ask a female subordinate out after she has said no, emailing sexual jokes to a female subordinate, and commenting on a female subordinate’s looks—and asked people whether they amounted to harassment.”
“Most men know what sexual harassment is, and most women know what it is,” Atwater says. “The idea that men don’t know their behavior is bad and that women are making a mountain out of a molehill is largely untrue. If anything, women are more lenient in defining harassment.”
The study found that 16% of men and 11% of women agreed with the statement “I will/would be more reluctant to hire attractive women.” Additionally, 15% of both men and women agreed with the statement “I will be more reluctant to hire women for jobs that require close interpersonal interactions with men (for example, traveling).”
The hesitancy and growing number of people who do not to want to be alone and in proximity with female colleagues in the wake of #MeToo has led to some commentators calling this tendency and/or strategy the ‘Mike Pence defence’ or some similar phrase. Mike Pence is renowned for his avoidance of being alone with a woman out of respect for his wife, as well as it being an effective means of preventing the possibility of a scandal.
Indeed, in response to the statement “Men, in general, will be more reluctant to have one-on-one meetings with women with no others present,” 41% of men agreed and 57% of women agreed with the statement.
This is likely because men fear women’s current, seemingly unmitigated power over their careers. What the extent of #MeToo has shown is that a single allegation, true or not, can ruin you. As a result, a basic strategy of defence is to simply never be alone with a female colleague.
This fact is extremely unfortunate for women as being alone with a colleague is often a necessary means for building trust and mutual respect, both of which contribute to a healthy work relationship and overall work environment. Furthermore, the fear on the part of some employers could be incredibly stifling regarding a woman’s career trajectory. It’s hard to get to know someone and all the reasons she might deserve a raise if you’ve never talked with her one-on-one.
“I’m not sure we were surprised by the numbers, but we were disappointed,” says Rachel Sturm, a professor at Wright State University who worked on the project. “When men say, ‘I’m not going to hire you, I’m not going to send you traveling, I’m going to exclude you from outings’—those are steps backward.”
Relevant to this point, 22% of men and 44% of women agreed with the statement “Men in general will be more likely to exclude women from social interactions.”
Additionally, the report found that 56% of women expect men will “continue to harass but would take more precautions against getting caught,” while 58% of men predicted “that men in general would have greater fears of being unfairly accused.”
Almost all these numbers are higher than they were only a year before.
The report also highlighted women’s self-awareness regarding how they are being treated and how men are beginning to view women in the workforce — this seems to be as a liability, rather than as an asset.
In response to the statement “The more women who come forward about sexual harassment, the more likely it will be that men blame women for the problem,” 30% of men agreed, and 43% of women agreed.
As women come to adapt to this new challenge, it is possible that the #MeToo movement, in the long run, will have the opposite effect. The study found that 63% of women reported having been harassed, with 33% experiencing it more than once. Of these women, only 20% reported the incident, with the main concern among those who didn’t being “fear of negative consequences and apprehension that they would be labeled troublemakers.”
In other words, women don’t want the negative stereotype generated by #MeToo to be proven right, even if they would be in the right to report an incident of harassment.