KEY POINTS

  • Amanda Knox said that she feels for Johnny Depp and Amber Heard amid the ongoing trial
  • The American activist and journalist understood what it was like when the public decides you are guilty
  • Knox, who got wrongfully convicted for murder, reminded everyone that public opinion should not matter

Johnny Depp and Amber Heard's ongoing defamation trial has been a subject of discussion in the recent weeks, prompting Amanda Knox to condemn the spectacle amid the exes' legal battle.

In a new op-ed published for U.K. outlet The Independent, titled "I feel for Depp and Heard – I know what it's like to have the public decide you're guilty," Knox detailed how public opinion could affect those involved in the case. Knox was wrongfully convicted and exonerated for the murder of her roommate in 2007. She was only 20 years old at the time and was studying in Perugia, Italy. She spent four years in prison.

In the op-ed, the American author, journalist and activist detailed how Depp's failed libel suit against The Sun for calling him a wife-beater and Heard's op-ed in Washington Post describing herself as a victim of domestic abuse made "the culture turned against Depp." The actor was pushed out from two major movie franchises "Pirates of the Caribbean" and "Fantastic Beasts," Knox noted.

"And while he wasn't suddenly destitute or imprisoned, he was shamed and vilified on a global scale by a public that had very little information about what actually occurred. I felt for Johnny Depp in that moment," she wrote. "I am still dealing with the psychological trauma of the public shaming I've endured."

She continued, "It's no small thing. I spoke out in support of Depp back then, not because I knew he was innocent of abuse, but because it was clear to me that, regardless of his defamation trial verdict, he was being punished by the court of public opinion without a guarantee for proportional sentencing or a right to appeal."

Knox also mentioned the hate directed at Heard, including the hashtags "#AmberTurd and #AmberHeardIsAnAbuser" and the bot armies amplifying pro-Depp stories.

"The more credible evidence that has emerged in Heard's favor, the more violent the rhetoric against her has become. But the death threats are not just online," Know continued.

She cited two people being removed from court after it was alleged that they made violent threats online against Heard. Knox could relate to the "Aquaman 2" star since she dealt with death threats.

"As someone who's received plenty of death threats, I can tell you that, while it's a fairly safe assumption that most are empty rhetoric fueled by rageful echo chambers, misinformation, and anonymity, you never know. And that slim chance is terrifying," Knox added.

She also quoted Heard's words in the op-ed when the "London Fields" actress claimed that she felt "I was on trial in the court of public opinion — and my life and livelihood depended on myriad judgment far beyond my control." Knox said the feeling was surely amplified with their ongoing televised trial, and she was sure "Depp feels it too."

Knox said no one, including the privileged and wealthy, should "face such unforgiving and unaccountable judgment." She added that the public's collective gaze is not a good feeling, and it couldn't happen without the speculations, accusations, slander, threats, and objectification of Depp and Heard for the people's moral crusades.

"Who wins in a trial like this? Not Depp. Not Heard. Not us. But can't we condemn the spectacle and yet still sift the evidence to arrive at our conclusions about the guilt and innocence of these two human beings whose trauma and pain and ugliness [have] been paraded before us?" she continued. "I'm not going to tell you my opinion on the Depp v Heard trial. My opinion is just that, an opinion, and it doesn't matter. And frankly, neither does yours."

Depp is suing Heard for the 2018 op-ed she wrote about being a survivor of domestic abuse. The "Minamata" actor claimed that even if he wasn't mentioned by name in the write-up, it affected his career, causing him to lose some movie projects.

The trial continues this week. Kate Moss will testify for Depp Wednesday as a rebuttal witness after Heard brought her name up in her testimony while recounting the staircase incident in March 2015.

Depp and Heard's lawyers will deliver their closing arguments on Friday.

Johnny Depp arrives at court, waving to his loyal supporters
Johnny Depp arrives at court, waving to his loyal supporters POOL via AFP / Brendan Smialowski
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