The trial between Johnny Depp against Amber Heard is a media circus

If you want to peek into a world of confusion, nihilism and degradation, I insist that you visit the county courthouse for a while Fairfax, Virginia. There you can see the process in which Amber Heard is sued for defamation in a case brought by the actor Johnny Depp.

Depp He sues his ex-wife for $50 million over an op-ed in which she claimed to be a victim of domestic violence.. The article was published in Washington Post in 2018; in it, heard She described her experience of sexual violence and harassment, as well as “feeling the full force of our culture’s anger against women who don’t stay quiet.” The name didn’t actually appear. Johnny Depp.

The actor has already fought a defamation case in the London High Court: sued the newspaper The Sun for branding him a “wife beater” in 2020, and he lost. In this second lawsuit, he threw his full weight into a legal argument that leaves no inch of his squalid domestic life undiscovered. Amber Heardfor its part, filed a counterclaim for $100 millionand contributed recordings and videos seeking to prove the violence he says he endured.

Nobody wins in the sordid and unedifying spectacle that is broadcast on television and social networks around the world. But for those who are not used to seeing court coverage live, as is the case in Great Britain and in much of Europe, the spectacle of watching one of the most famous actors of his generation describe a life of drug use, drinking and Rabelaisian debauchery makes it almost impossible to ignore. It has become my guilty pleasure.


“It’s no wonder TikTok is happy to absolve him of all blame; admitting that Johnny Depp was abusive would be a damning indictment of ourselves.”

Jo Ellison,
Contributor to <i>FT</i>

The tests of the dependencies of Johnny Depp, his lack of forcefulness and brutal text exchanges show that he was rarely Partner of the Year. Even so, his extraordinary charisma, his charm, his doodles in the room and his way of being —a kind of Keith Richards mixed with a Renaissance prince— They have already won over a large part of the social media jury.

Regardless of the outcome of the case overseeing the Judge Penney Azcaratewhose behavior transmits total mystification in the face of the controversial case that he now presides over, the TikTok court has no qualms about delivering a verdict.

One of the first big celebrity cases to unfold on social media has already generated a tsunami of quick opinions about the trial. And nobody is impartial: #JusticeForJohnnyDepp already achieved close to 10,000 million views on TikTokwhile a hashtags similar for Amber Heard only reached 37 million. In the meantime, the platform produced a lot of defamatory content about the actress and every sentence of his testimony has been revised, recreated and re-enacted to present it to the viewers.

The TikTok Community Guidelines prohibit “content that disparages victims of violent tragedies.” In case of abusive behavior, its policy establishes: “We eliminate the expressions mistreatment, including threats or demeaning statements intended to mock, humiliate, intimidate, or hurt.”

TikTok says it has already removed several videos about Heard that violated its anti-harassment policies, and affirms that it will continue to apply them. But anyone who takes a look at the current footage should know that any attempt to moderate content is nothing more than a promise that falls on deaf ears.

The courtroom became a social media circus, primed to trigger the viral meme. And despite the seriousness of the accusations, or how distressing this trial can be for what is estimated to be 1 in 4 women who, according to the women’s aid charity Refuge, will experience domestic violence at some point in her life, there is no doubt that the secondary details that make up the court case have been compelling.

Depp’s Scottish bodyguard Malcolm Connolly, has been the subject of a number of media profiles since taking the stand. With an innate talent for stand-up, when asked if he could remember if he had seen the actor urinating in a hallway, his answer brought tears to the room. In the future I will also not drink a large glass of alcohol without remembering the description made by the lawyer of heard of the “mega pint of red wine” from Depp. The comment is now available on t-shirts, it became a “challenge” of the internet and is the subject of a hashtags which has already been used 122 million times.

In the meantime, Depp’s seduction of social media has only compounded the thorny issue of our attitudes toward abuse. His eccentric way of speaking, his excesses and his explosions are undoubtedly symptomatic of an aggressor, he has not hidden his addictions in the trial. But his personality flaws and his saltiest charactervaje are precisely the characteristics on which he built a multi-million dollar career. No wonder TikTok is happy to absolve him of all blame; admitting that Johnny Depp was abusive would be a damning indictment of ourselves.

We enjoy the entertainment value of criminals like Jack Sparrow the Big Bad Wolf or the cocaine smuggler George Jung (all of them heroes in Johnny Depp’s career), regardless of the pain they cause.

As an exercise in who’s to blame here, we should probably be less kind to ourselves. We built the culture that made Depp a “legend”, and now we are responsible for propping up the scaffolding of blame.. It’s gloomy, depressing and demeaning. And I view it with a hint of embarrassment. But I’m still going to keep browsing for news, and pour myself another mega pint of wine.

FT

GAF

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