In recent weeks, the feed of our social channels has been literally invaded by American images of the trial between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard, held from April 11th to May 17th in a Virginia courtroom. While waiting for the verdict, which will judge Amber guilty or not of defamation against her ex-husband Depp, let’s understand what happened and how public opinion reacted.
Between #MeTooWeinstein et al cancel cultures which has caused casualties among many public figures of Hollywood show business, too the Johnny Depp vs. Amber Heard case to shake the masses of the golden world (the period in which the events occurred, more or less, was that): the two have met in court, in the last two weeks, to resolve the mutual accusations of defamation about the physical and psychological abuse they said they suffered during their marriage. The whole world acted as commentator: the trial, in fact, was carried out under the watchful eye of the cameras and, therefore, of anyone who owns a smartphone and wants to feel like a judge.
In wait of the final verdict scheduled for tomorrow June 2, we understand better what happened.
Johnny Depp and Amber Heard: the cause
On Friday 27 May the most media-hyped and unjustifiably celebrated trial of the last few decades concluded: we are talking about the trial in which the protagonists ex-spouses Johnny Depp and Amber Heard. The final verdict should have already arrived, but it is evident that the jury (made up of 5 men and two women whose identity will remain secret until a year after the end of the trial) had great difficulties; however, his judgment should arrive by tomorrow, Thursday 2 June, following the discussion that will start today in the council chamber. But why did these two actors find each other (again) in court?
Johnny Depp is suing ex-wife Amber Heard for 50 million dollars, accusing her of defaming him through a now very famous article she wrote and published in 2018 on Washington Post, in which the actress defined herself as “a public figure who represents domestic abuse”.
The goal of Depp’s lawyers, who have become grotesque social media stars, is therefore to demonstrate the falsehood of Heard’s statements. On the other hand, the woman has countersued the ex-husband for double the amount due to the damage done to his image that the trial on live national television procured.
Read also: Depp – Heard trial: the legal battle is underway
The trial and the chilling testimonies
Details leaked from the painstaking Depp – Heard trial are disturbing. The statements of the two seem to bring out an incredibly toxic, possessive, manipulative and sick relationship. The tales of physical, sexual and psychological abuse apparently perpetrated by both. Johnny Depp’s infamous severed finger, allegedly caused by a broken bottle used by Ambe Heard; the story of the feces and when Johnny he would find what he defined as human excrement in his bed.
Then the words of Amber about his fury filmed by his cell phone, his addiction to drugs and the sexual harassment he says he suffered. Finally, the testimonials of both sides: a psychologist on his side, for example, who describes Amber as a woman with a borderline and histrionic personality; a representative of the tabloid newspaper tmz extension to which Amber allegedly delivered some videos to defame Johnny; her sister and many more.
Johnny Depp – Amber Heard trial: the public outside the courthouse
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The public pillory: the risk of televising the trial
When the judge of Depp–Heard trialPenney Azcarate, allowed hearings in Fairfax Court, Virginia to be broadcast in television from the Court TV network, delirium was unleashed. The loyal fan base of the Pirate of the Caribbean, combined with the malice and curiosity that reign over social trends such as Instagram but above all TikTok (when juicy opportunities for indiscriminate polarization present themselves, as in this case) they have created a real television audience, so much a child of our media age that they are unable to see the confrontation in court except as a TV series to root for from south curve to one or the other character.
Dedicated hashtags quickly alternated and real memes and trends were born from the obsession microanalysis of every detail, available for replay and slow-motion to view the whole world. And as is often the case in the online world, public opinion is clear, cutting and does not admit gray areas: Depp is innocent, Amber lies. The result is a dangerous potential invalidation of mental disorders as well as domestic violence, both for the two protagonists of the sad story and for those who, among the non-paying public, carry on their shoulders similar stories.
And while waiting for the final verdict, among those who mock, judge and take sides, no one wins, least of all the two victims of the sick love relationship, who have now become victims of a new executioner: we.
Graduated in Arts, Entertainment, Cultural Events at the IULM University of Milan, she is pursuing a Masters in Storytelling Arts. She is passionate about storytelling in all its forms, from narrative to…