Hearsay, Your Honor!

Depp vs. Heard, The Most Televised Trial of our Era

In this day and age, it’s common for the lives of celebrities to be entirely publicized, and even something as serious as the trial between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard is broadcast for the whole world to see.

   On the forefront of many people’s minds is the previous verdict of the case between Heard and Depp. In 2017, the couple divorced and Heard got a restraining order against Depp, claiming that he hit her. She also claimed he had multiple substance abuse issues.

   The claim of abuse was later withdrawn by Heard and the couple agreed to a $7 million divorce settlement. Despite the withdrawal of her claim, the public still believed Depp physically abused Heard. The Sun, a British newspaper, even referred to Depp as a “wife-beater.”

   Depp sued the paper for libel over the headline, in which the judge ruled against him, saying, “I accept that Mr. Depp put [Heard] in fear for her life.” This situation was conclusive in the publics’ eye: Depp had abused Heard during their marriage. 

   This current trial started when Heard claimed she was “ a public figure representing domestic abuse” and Depp sued her for defamation. After a year of legal sparring, Heard countersued Depp, alleging that he defamed her when his lawyer released statements saying her allegations of abuse were false.

   As of today, the public perception has changed in favor of Depp. Many cite the weakness of Heard’s lawyers as the leading reason for their support of Johnny Depp

   It would be remiss to say social media has not played a massive part in this trial. With every minute of it being streamed both on mainstream channels and YouTube, you won’t find anyone who doesn’t have an opinion on this trial. 

   Tiktok has had an especially large part to play, as its very large, mostly young and highly opinionated audience have had a lot to say. Dangerous rumors spread by Tiktok in particular have influenced public opinion past the trial, and has led to real life consequences.

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