I did not watch one second of the spectacle that was the court proceeding apparently televised between these two famous people who have gotten divorced. I also, for the most part, did not really follow it on social media. So everything I have to say about this event is based on the knowledge and understanding I have of the court system, in general, relationships and psychology, social media, journalism and general analytical skills. If I get a specific fact wrong here or there, please feel free to bring it up in comments, but if I start getting too many trolls, I’ll be turning off the comments entirely on this one.
Here’s my understanding of the events that led to the last several weeks of testimony and the civil verdict that was rendered by the jury.
Two famous actors, one with a long career, a significant fan base and a penis and the other around 20 years his junior, with a somewhat sketchy reputation (possibly due to sexism in the entertainment industry), shorter career and a vagina were married for a period of time. During said marriage, they were both physically and emotionally abusive to each other. There are multiple specific episodes of domestic violence stemming from arguments that, as within most marriages, can start, stop, linger, build and blow up over time. At some point, they had the good sense to separate and divorce, which frankly, sounds like it may have saved one or both of their lives. I also expect one or both of them may (definitely SHOULD) have attended therapy during this time, as the relationship was obviously traumatic for both parties.
After some measure of time, the female in the now ex-couple was called/encouraged to write about her experience and tell her story. Some of these writings made their way to publication. Even as she had the good sense to not name names in her writing, being that this was a famous couple, it was clear about whom she was speaking when she told her story, describing herself as a domestic abuse survivor. As a result of these articles, their publication and our extra-judicial system of ad hoc internet punishment for anyone determined to have done a “bad thing” in the internet age, the male in this dramatic series of events may have had roles not offered that otherwise would have been based on the implications of her stories. Implications, as his name was NEVER MENTIONED.
So what does he do? He has plenty of avenues to tell his story, but perhaps he worries that he won’t come off as sympathetic, or maybe he’s just a shitty writer/communicator outside of movie lines, who knows. He chooses to file a defamation suit, first in a UK court, against The Sun tabloid for publishing the words “wife-beater” in an editorial based on her original story. This lawsuit failed to get him anywhere; The Sun’s words were deemed “substantially true” by a judge based on multiple prior allegations of assault she had made throughout their relationship.
But this wasn’t good enough. Since perhaps he took on too large a target with too strong a legitimate interest in publishing and telling stories from those who might not otherwise be heard (no pun intended), he decided to file a new complaint in US civil court against her directly. He filed a civil case directly against her for costing him significant amounts of financial compensation for work lost due to reputational damage. Fair enough. That is what we were all just forced to endure.
During this court proceeding, it was revealed that their entire relationship was plagued with domestic discord, to say the least. No one would say this was ever a “happy couple,” I don’t think. But several things about HOW this court proceeding was conducted have led me to believe there was something very wrong, very staged and manipulated about the process. Someone had put a lot of thought into how to get the result they wanted from the system and lo and behold, that is exactly what happened.
And, because this post is now officially LONG ENOUGH, I will say it is to be continued. The next one is gonna be a doozy, though, so wait for it.