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Bad Legal Rulings and Online Misogyny Are a Toxic Mix

Michael Hobbs does an outstanding job explaining how the Amber Heard-Johnny Depp trial spun out of control and led to such a horrible outcome in this guest post at Parker Malloy’s The Present Age.

If you’re surprised to learn Heard’s narrative or the scale of the evidence supporting it, that’s because it has played almost no role in the internet free-for-all that has surrounded this case for the last six weeks. 

Hobbs puts the trial and the internet focus into context and explains why it led to a bad result in this case—and how it could lead to more problems in the future.

He also highlights something that stunned me when I first learned of it:

In hindsight, the verdict came down the minute the judge allowed the case to be televised. Jurors weren’t sequestered or sheltered from the internet in any way, meaning they were likely exposed to the same bad-faith memes and out-of-context clips as everyone else. Plus, this case has been swirling around the internet for years, making an impartial jury an impossibility in the first place. One man was allowed to stay in the jury pool after revealing a text from his wife that read, “Amber is psychotic.” (emphasis added)

How? How can that happen?

I hope you’ll read Hobb’s analysis of the case. It’s the best I’ve seen out there. I also hope you’ll subscribe to The Present Age, Parker Malloy does an excellent job with it.

Also, I know from personal experience how much of a negative impact false accusations can have on a person. But evidence is evidence. This trial is another example of what happens when sound judicial judgments lose out to a trial in the media and social media.

Process matters. We just have to do better.

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