You v. Depp v. Heard
The latest megatrial overshadowed what actually matters in early 2022.
There were several things lost, other than the will to live, beneath the Depp v. Heard trial this month.
The news that 90 deaths have been recorded so far, crop yields are down by 50% in places, and birds are falling out of the sky as a result of the South Asian heatwave, where the temperature has been hovering either side of 50°C.
The #MeToo movement (at least, according to a couple of dudes with the gall to claim that abuse victims speaking up about systems of abuse is “over” because of a single trial verdict).
The public interest.
The public was interested in the trial, that was clear. But it was in no one’s interest to have a domestic breakdown played out in the public eye, skewered via TikTok clips and YouTube reaction videos, removed of any nuance, complexity, and often, evidence.
It’s clear that there’s a fair chance the swirling animosity around the case prejudiced the trial. There is plenty of evidence showing that Depp and Heard abused each other—and therefore little reason to find that anyone was defamed (both were found to have defamed the other, but officially the jury ‘found in Depp’s favour’).
An entire subgenre of content rose up over several weeks, in which some of the worst moments of a young woman’s life (she is 22 years his junior, and was 26 when they became a couple) were played for vitriolic laughs by people who earned huge amounts of money from the new followers and engagement that subgenre attracted.
On TikTok, there have been 410 million views of videos tagged ‘amber heard reenactment’ in which creators (including, famously, Lance Bass of N*Sync) took audio of Heard describing instances of violence by Depp, and mocked them.
NBC culture reporter Kat Tenbarge had to point out what any adult with an ounce of decency already knows:
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