Out there, it’s a messed-up place. Of course, we’re all aware of this, but now and again, something happens that serves as a stark reminder of just how twisted up everything is. The Johnny Depp vs. Amber Heard trial has recently been memeified as an illustration of this.
Even if it may be an indictment of my inability to have my finger on the pulse of digital culture, I couldn’t have foreseen this coming. Despite reading up on the case before the trial, and even when I initially arrived at the Fairfax County Courthouse, I had no idea it would get to this point. In my innocent ignorance, I never imagined one of the most high-profile cases of domestic violence in our time would be documented through TikTok videos, soundbites, and songs. I didn’t expect anyone to find it funny.
Amber Heard Memes On All Social Media Platforms
All it takes is ten minutes on TikTok (or YouTube, Instagram, or Twitter). Even if you just casually surf YouTube today, the algorithm may serve up a video focused on Heard’s reported “EPIC” reaction to a portion of Depp’s testimony, as it did for me. When a witness is asked whether or not they saw Johnny Depp’s genitals on one particular occasion, a video clip with adorable music and irreverent captions, of course, travels on Twitter. The “victim card” meme, in which Heard is shown as a victim, has also gone viral.
Making memes about domestic violence allegations doesn’t make you “neutral.” It makes you an “asshole.” https://t.co/HHHdhPHZTa
— kate lindsay (@kathrynfiona) May 9, 2022
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TikTok is another option. The trial’s “fan culture” has taken off on TikTok. A mix of basic fan content (such as a video showing Depp entering court and hugging his lawyers to Tom Odell’s romantic ballad “Another Love”), response footage to various stages in the trial, and… other stuff… can be found on the website at the moment.
It takes a comprehensive analysis of celebrity culture to describe some videos, such as a clip of a fan responding to one of Heard’s lawyers by lip-syncing to an audio clip telling him to “keep Depp’s name out of your f***** mouth,” itself a reference to the infamous slap directed by Will Smith at Chris Rock during the Oscars in March of this year…
A lot of users on TikTok have jokingly suggested that one of Heard’s lawyers might be a hidden Johnny Depp fan, which has sparked a lot of speculation about the case. It’s not uncommon for Depp’s fans to focus on the most minor details of Heard’s behavior and interpret them in the most damning terms. It’s not unusual for Heard to come under fire for scribbling notes “frantically,” an indication she’s “panicking,” one social media user asserted, or for putting on glasses to look at the evidence, which isn’t something she’s done before.
Another ridiculous image purporting to depict “the moment Heard realized she would be imprisoned” has also surfaced. We’re dealing with a civil case here. Nobody will be sent to jail. Damages (money) and immunity from Depp’s allegations have been requested by Depp and Heard, respectively. That’s what this is all about. It’s pointless and intentionally misleading to treat this as a criminal matter when it isn’t.
Both sides have been accused of terrible domestic violence in this defamation trial. Some individuals think Depp will win, while others think Heard will. Having followed the testimony for over three weeks, there have been some extremely heavy moments (as well as times when I wanted Judge Penney Azcarate would hold individuals to a higher standard of behavior, such as when several Depp supporters booed Heard as she exited court).
The picture that has been painted is one of a marriage that has been thoroughly poisoned. I’ve had a hard time hearing the evidence and testimony on more than one occasion.
— Xay ♋️🇺🇸 (@realXanderXjork) May 7, 2022
If anything, I’m thankful that social media wasn’t around during the most notorious criminal trials of our time. Consider what may have happened if, during Ted Bundy‘s 1979 broadcast trial, he had used TikTok or Twitter to marry his fiancée while she was testifying against him as a witness.
We don’t feel any empathy when we consume other people’s pain and spit it back out as memes. This is not the Super Bowl or the Met Gala; this is a courtroom trial. There is little doubt that the topics being discussed between Heard and Depp have sparked strong emotions in many people. However, the current situation is far from ideal.
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