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Amber Heard accused of playing ‘mind games’ with Johnny Depp amid defamation trial

By Alma Fabiani

Apr 21, 2022

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It’s everywhere at the minute—you wouldn’t be able to avoid it even if you wanted to. The current US trial involving Johnny Depp and Amber Heard centres on a lawsuit the Pirates of the Caribbean actor filed against his ex-wife for an op-ed she wrote in The Washington Post following their divorce. The 2018 article detailed, in Heard’s own words, how she had become a “public figure representing domestic abuse.”

Though the piece did not mention Depp by name, the actor has maintained in court papers that it clearly referred to their relationship and that both his reputation and career were “devastated” as a result. In his lawsuit filed in March 2019, Depp denied that he was a domestic abuser and said that Heard’s accusations were an “elaborate hoax” intended to boost her public persona—one that succeeded in making her a “darling of the #MeToo movement.”

Instead, Depp is now trying to prove that the Aquaman actress had been the perpetrator of abuse herself, not him—accusing her in court papers of punching, kicking and throwing objects at him, including a bottle of vodka that he said shattered on the countertop and severed the tip of one of his fingers. Long story short, after losing his libel case against the British tabloid The Sun and having to forfeit his role in the Fantastic Beasts film series (among many other career opportunities), Depp has been on a mission to clear his name. And it looks like things are finally going his way.

In testimony on Tuesday 19 April, Depp denied ever striking Heard—or any woman for that matter. Then, during more than five hours of testimony the next day, the jury heard snippets of recorded arguments between the couple. Those included audio of Depp confronting Heard about kicking a door into his head the previous night and Heard asking, “Why are you obsessing over the fact that I can’t remember it the way you remember it?”

Heard, who is expected to take the stand later in the trial, has given a very different account of the incident, writing in court papers that her ex-husband became violent with her during an argument surrounding his drug use.

As the internet’s opinion on the case continues to shift in favour of Depp and more evidence being presented against the American actress—just take a quick look at your TikTok FYP and you’ll be flooded with montages of some of the trial’s most controversial moments—one user seems to believe they’ve cracked a mind game Heard is playing with Depp.

In a video posted on Wednesday 20 April, Dani Dell’Olio looked at the two celebrities’ outfits as they both attended court throughout the trial so far. She highlighted the fact that whatever Depp is wearing on the day, Heard is seen wearing something very similar to it the very next—insinuating that this behaviour is proof of her obsession with the actor.

As stated in a Marca article, “One of the last public appearances in which Johnny Depp was spotted before this trial, he wore an all-black shirt with a black tie and a completely grey suit. Amber Heard wore the exact same outfit on the first day of the trial. On that same day, Depp decided to wear a black Gucci bee tie, Amber Heard wore the exact same tie on the next day.”

The publication continued, “Johnny wore all black on that day and Heard wore all black on the third day of the trial. It’s evident she is just leaving the trial and going to buy the exact same outfit [he] wore, but why is she doing this? Is it to play mind games with Depp or is she just mocking him?”

Many of you will recognise the saying ‘you are what you wear’ and interestingly, in this case, Heard is quite literally wearing whatever her accuser dons the day prior. Is that her own attempt at making herself look like the victim once more, since she’s now being the one accused of physical and mental abuse?

Why is no one talking about Jared Leto’s history of paedophilia and predatory behaviour?

By Alma Fabiani

Mar 11, 2022

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Depending on which generation you were born into, you might know the American actor and musician Jared Leto for a wide array of reasons. I personally remember him from Requiem for a Dream and the absolute trauma that movie caused my 15-year-old self. Some may also associate Leto with Fight Club’s Angel Face character while for others his face brings forth unwanted flashbacks from the car crash that was his performance as Suicide Squad’s Joker. Heck, if you’re not much of a movie buff but know a thing or two about fashion, then Leto can only represent one thing to you: Gucci’s creative director, Alessandro Michele’s most favoured muse, placed even before Harry Styles and Lana Del Rey on the pedestal.

But Leto should be known for more than his surprisingly long-lasting acting career or the name he’s made for himself in the music industry with his band Thirty Seconds To Mars—fronted by the man himself along with his brother Shannon Leto on drums. It’s time for Leto to be dragged for more than his embarrassingly meme-worthy acting attempt in House of Gucci—it’s about time we addressed the problematic behaviour he’s been displaying for years without ever facing the repercussions. From accusations of paedophilia and rape to his bizarre cult island, we’ve gathered all the receipts.

 

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Thirty Seconds To Mars: a band that turned into a cult

When the Leto brothers formed their rock band in 1998, they probably never imagined the fan base it would accumulate over the years. Thirty Seconds To Mars (also known as 30STM) went on to consistently enjoy sold-out tours and even headline numerous festivals. Known for its energetic live performances, fused elements from a wide variety of genres, its use of philosophical and spiritual lyrics, concept albums, and experimental music, the band took a strange turn when it started holding cult-like “summer camps” for its audience in 2015.

What seemed to have started as an ironic comment—in 2013, Leto told The New York Times Magazine that it was “a joke, a response to journalists saying, ‘You have such a cult following.’”—quickly turned into a golden opportunity to fleece their audience. In August 2019, while on yet another island retreat they’d held in Croatia for hundreds of fans, Thirty Seconds To Mars tweeted, “Yes, it’s a cult,” sending the internet into an understandable frenzy.

As reported by KQED in September 2019, the band’s fans “collectively refer to themselves as ‘the Echelon’, and are a group that seems overwhelmingly immersed not [just] in music nerd-dom, but rather a more general sort of love for the community surrounding the band.” I mean, just watch 10 seconds of the fan-made video below and you’ll get an idea of the megachurch vibes 30STM is giving off:

Oh, and in case you’re still not convinced, keep in mind that the Echelon also seems more than happy to don all-white uniforms and worship Leto’s feet. No biggie.

KQED further noted, “Like many cults, the Echelon espouses an us vs. them mentality via the hashtag #YouWouldntUnderstand, a refrain Leto repeats often. That idea has pushed supporters to ever more fervent degrees of devotion any time the band receives any degree of criticism.”

Looking into the band’s eyebrow-raising trips, the publication revealed that its Camp Mars event, which was held between 7 and 9 September 2019, charged $999 for two nights of outdoor camping, where you had to bring your own tent and supplies, Fyre Festival-style. The getaway also included daytime outdoor activities like rock-climbing and archery, plus two Thirty Seconds To Mars concerts, which the band called ‘Church of Mars’. More expensive dorm options were also offered, but the only way to sleep in a space that wasn’t shared with strangers was to pay $6,499 for a “VIP experience.” Neat.

But that’s all fine, because Leto declared the band “anti-greed” back in 2013. Whether the whole cult aspect surrounding 30STM started as a joke or not, what certainly seems to be serious is how aware Leto is of his fans’ dedication to him. This thirst for devotion has most definitely played a part in the worrying accusations the celebrity has faced both before and after.

The industry accused him of sexual assault and paedophilia

In May 2018, in the midst of the #MeToo movement, Dylan Sprouse—yep, that’s the twin brother of Cole Sprouse who is best known for his role as Zack Martin on the Disney Channel series The Suite Life of Zack & Cody and its spin-off, The Suite Life on Deck—posted a tweet accusing Leto of sending DMs to every model aged 18 to 25.

It quickly escalated when Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn tweeted the following as an answer to Sprouse’s initial tweet, “He starts at 18 on the internet?” Though the tweet has since been deleted, many netizens managed to grab a screenshot beforehand:

Why is no one talking about Jared Leto’s history of paedophilia and predatory behaviour?

This was not the first time Gunn tried speaking up about Leto’s predatory behaviour either. In June of 2015, the director reportedly did a live stream on the video app Periscope in which he made similar remarks about the actor’s habits of sleeping with underage girls. SCREENSHOT did not manage to locate a copy of the video in question.

In that same year, the New York Post reported that the 30STM frontman had been pursuing teen models. “He’s been approaching all the girls and inviting them to his shows,” an anonymous source told the paper. “He’s a serial texter. He is constantly texting these 16- and 17-year-old girls. It’s really kind of creepy.”

For a man who openly held a competition in which the prize was a night sleeping in his bed and who fronts a band that is known to specifically request their fans get tattoos in their honour, to be accused of such things should have been enough to eventually lead the actor to face at least some kind of consequence. And yet, not much happened to the cult leader in 2018, even after a worrying number of allegations, some from years before then, started appearing online.

Oh, and so did his own fans

Though the article has since been wiped clean from the internet, in July 2015, pop culture writer for the now-vanished media criticism site Contemptor, Evangeline Van Houten, made some waves for her piece titled Another Cosby? A Reminder That Several Women Have Accused Jared Leto Of Sexual Assault. In it, the journalist collected several confronting allegations of sexual misconduct from fans of 30STM.

A number of victims, as young as 15, described having sex with Leto and some of the allegations suggested the singer acted despite a lack of consent or continued even when asked to stop. One account stated, “He was very pushy into coercing me to do sexual acts with him and he was quite rough and forceful. Once he was unnecessarily rough and when I told him it hurt he didn’t stop—he never did anything slowly or for my pleasure… And no, he never asked me if I was ever ok or comfortable with anything he wanted to do, simply because he is not the person to care.”

The 50-year-old actor never tried to respond to such accusations, and let’s be honest, it never seemed like he really had to, especially since barely anyone even made the effort to shed light on his alleged predatory behaviour. A Reddit thread based on the article mentioned above includes many more shocking accounts, in case you’re wondering exactly how many victims we’re looking at here.

In 2014, a Star Magazine print issue featured an interview with former adult film star Vicki Marie Taylor claiming that, back when Leto dated Cameron Diaz, she and three other strip dancers had been invited to a post-concert get-together one night in April 2002.

“The other girls and I stripped down to bikinis and hung out with Jared and the band backstage,” Taylor told Star. “After a while, Jared invited me onto his tour bus. His brother, Shannon, the band’s drummer, was already on it and the three of us were the only people there. I gave Jared a lap dance for just a minute, but then he asked me to do the same for his brother, who was sitting on a couch. As I started to dance for Shannon, Jared suddenly grabbed me around the throat from behind and said to me, ‘I can reach pure sexual enjoyment in 30 seconds just by looking into your eyes’. Obviously, it was kind of a weird situation.”

She went on to say that Leto then sat back down and watched Taylor lap dance his brother for ten minutes until a roadie announced it was time for them to leave for their next gig.

The internet is home to many (many, many) more accounts of Leto allegedly sexually assaulting (sometimes underage) victims. However, some internet users have suggested that such online accusations are not to be taken seriously due to the fact that they never actually evolved into sexual assault and rape police cases—a very stupid and uneducated way of looking at the situation.

How many times do we have to say it? The fear of not being believed makes it even harder for victims to come forward, so imagine how frightening it must be for anyone facing Leto and his somewhat invincible yet invisible team of lawyers. Almost 90 per cent of sexual assault survivors will never go to the police.

And it’s not only that victims are worried people won’t believe them, they also worry they will face horrific repercussions for coming forward with their story—whether personally, professionally or from the perpetrator themselves—especially if they go on to report the assault to concerned authorities. Seeing how much of an expert Leto is at emptying his fans’ pockets, it’s not hard to think of the many options he has under his belt when trying to silence his victims.

 

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