With the trial between actors and former partners Johnny Depp and Amber Heard heading towards its conclusion, let’s navigate through this complicated story and see what details you should know.
Depp, 58, a famous Hollywood star, is suing Heard, 36, his ex-wife, also an actor known for her role in Aquaman sequel, for defamation over an opinion piece she wrote for The Washington Post. He is seeking $50 million, while Heard is seeking $100 million in retaliation.
This case has turned into one of the most popular topics on the internet, becoming maybe as equally entertaining as online poker for South Africa.
Social media is flooded with videos from the trial, and reenactments of Amber are all over TikTok.
Now let’s dig deeper and sum up everything that’s been going on so far.
Why is Depp suing Heard?
Model and actress Amber Heard was married to Depp, from 2015 to 2016. They got divorced in August 2016.
Two years after the divorce, Heard wrote an op-ed (opinion piece) that was published in The Washington Post titled, "I Spoke Up Against Sexual Violence — and Faced Our Culture's Wrath. That Has to Change."
In the article, she never mentioned Depp’s name. However, the period she talks about corresponds to the years when they were together.
According to Depp, Heard allegedly defamed him in the op-ed. His attorneys stated that the piece clearly refers to Depp, and Heard's false allegations harmed Mr. Depp's family and career.
Heard’s attorneys, in their turn, said that the First Amendment protects what she wrote, claiming that the article isn't about Johnny Depp, “it’s about the social change for which she is advocating."
Depp must show that Heard fabricated fraudulent assertions on purpose. In 2020, Depp lost another defamation case, when he had sued The Sun, a British tabloid, over a headline that referred to him as a "wife beater." Depp's new defamation claim was launched in 2019, a year after Heard’s op-ed was published.
To cut it short, what's happened in the trial so far?
Heard testified that Depp sexually assaulted her, hit her very often under the influence of various drugs, and brought a lot of examples.
Depp, on the other hand, claimed that he never hit Heard but that she was violent during their time together.
When will a decision be made?
On May 27, both teams are anticipated to present their closing arguments. The jury will then deliberate on the decision.
The trial has received an explosion of social media attention as a result of the nonstop coverage of the complicated case. A social media expert testified that out of four random tests of 1,000 tweets concerning Heard, not one was positive, whereas a huge fan base of Depp and a lot of celebrities, including his exes, have come out in his defense.
And, in an odd turn of events, Depp's lawyer Camille Vasquez became a TikTok star after her rigorous cross-examination of Heard, and now has a swarm of fans.
While the number of views and comments continues to rise, critics claim that the internet frenzy may cause people to take reports of abuse less seriously.
What appears to be typical social media activity hides a far darker reality: parasocial contacts contribute to the entrenchment of deeply destructive conversations that shape how people address and respond to domestic and sexual assault.