(ORDO NEWS) — Even professional lawyers cannot understand who will emerge victorious from this difficult situation. While the battle between Johnny and Amber continues, the controversy continues among their fans. Amber is supported by the American media and representatives of the fem community, Johnny is supported by millions of Web users.
Why do so many people treat it like it’s a joke?
The first time it happened, she, in her own words, thought it was a joke. In the courtroom, during a libel hearing, actress Amber Heard spoke about how her now ex-husband Johnny Depp hit her for the first time. Then she asked him a question about one of his tattoos – a tattoo on his bicep, which seemed to her just a black blob.
According to her, Johnny told her that the word “wino” was written on the tattoo. Deciding that he was joking – at that moment Depp was really struggling with drug addiction, and, according to Hurd, he drank a lot that evening – she laughed. Then “he punched me in the face.” For some reason, she continued to laugh in response. “I didn’t know what else to do. I thought, this must be a joke. This must be a joke. Because I didn’t understand what was going on.”
Depp denies that he ever hit Heard. And within the framework of this process, the court does not set itself the goal of finding out whether he beat her or not. At the center of this process was a 2018 Washington Post article in which Heard described the anger victims of sexual assault face in a society that prefers to keep them silent. In that article, Heard did not directly accuse Depp, although she did describe herself as a “public figure who has experienced domestic violence.”
However, Depp filed a $50 million lawsuit against Heard, alleging that the article damaged his reputation and negatively affected his ability to earn money. (Heard filed a $100 million counterclaim against Depp.)
Watching this lawsuit, which in some ways was a repeat of Depp’s unsuccessful attempt to collect damages from a British newspaper for libel, was very painful and sad. Both sides attacked each other with accusations of physical and psychological violence, backing up their words with very dark and often “graphic” evidence. When I watched their speeches in court, I had the impression that I was carefully examining the wreckage of human lives.
Therefore, it was quite strange to realize how often laughter was heard during these court hearings – both in the courtroom and in the public discussions that this process generated. And Hurd’s description of her reaction the time Depp allegedly hit her for the first time turned out to be prophetic: lots of people
One of the first and most significant decisions Judge Penney Azcarate made in this case was to allow the hearing to be broadcast live. Live broadcast could be watched on television and on the Internet, where viewers sometimes even got the opportunity to comment on what was happening – a trial with a comment section. So a lot of people thought of it as a TV show—a mixture of soap opera, crime documentary, sports competition, and sitcom.
In April, during Depp’s cross-examination, one of Heard’s lawyers read out the text of a message that the actor had written about his ex-wife: “I hope the rotting corpse of this whore is already decomposing in the trunk of some Honda Civic.” Comment section on YouTube, where the meeting was broadcast, burst into digital laughter. “LOL Honda Civic,” one of the viewers wrote.
Of course, for such a forum, this is quite a standard reaction: an anonymous user laughs at another rude statement. However, the logic of the comments section – brutal and cold-blooded – managed to penetrate into the wider discussions about this trial. For example, on TikTok, users have reworked Heard’s heartbreaking stories into hilarious memes.
‘NSync’s Lance Bass posted a now-deleted video of him grimacing and melodramatically grimacing to an audio recording of Heard’s account of the abuse. (“Lance Bass may have an acting future in Hollywood,” wrote the New York Post, praising his performance.) Another TikTok user overlaid footage from Saturday Night Live of Kim Kardashian wearing a judge’s robe over the testimony Hurd. ” Fu, what a shame, says the false judge. “Guilty.” To date, the video has garnered almost 6 million likes.
This lawsuit has already been tape-taped with off-screen laughter, which in turn has created a paradox: for all the attention that Heard v. Depp has attracted, this case is ultimately the epitome of utter indifference. Jokes always downplay anything. Sure, jokes provide a certain lightness, but they also serve as a kind of silent permission to ignore other people’s pain.
In legal terms, jokes are motions to dismiss a claim. It was in this capacity that they were used all the time while accusations of violence were heard during the hearings. What are the facts of this case? What did Hurd say in her testimony? What did Depp say? How does contextual information about how trauma can affect memories how can alleged abusers compromise their victims – can influence their testimony? Jokes make these questions meaningless. They deprive even the evidence of meaning. The genre of this trial is comedy, jokes convince us, and comedies should begin and end with laughter. lol Honda Civic.
This callousness – the “LOL, it doesn’t matter” stance applied to a lawsuit in which the details are very important – has become a hallmark of pop culture’s attitude towards the case as a whole. Two weeks ago, the first story in the next issue of the satirical program Saturday Night Live was the trial of Heard and Depp. Kate McKinnon, as host of the program, announced the report, calling it “the crazy case of Heard vs. Depp”: I’m glad it’s not happening to me”?” Further in the story, the actors make fun of the atmosphere of this trial, which is somewhat reminiscent of a circus. (“But I allow it,” says Cecily Strong, who plays Judge Azkarate,
At first glance, the authors of this program ridiculed how the tragedies that served as the basis of this trial turn into a spectacle. However, the jokes that sounded in this program only exacerbated the general nihilism. Its authors emphasized two of the most sensational elements of this trial: the alleged incident with feces in the bed shared by the couple, and Depp’s claim that Heard threw a bottle of vodka at him so that he hurt his hand (Heard denies this, and spoke in court, the medical expert also questioned the veracity of Depp’s accusation).
However, the authors of the program did not mention one more detail in Hurd’s testimony: she stated that Depp threatened to “cut” her face with fragments of a bottle and that he raped her with a bottle during their fight. “I didn’t know if the bottle he raped me with was broken” she told the court. (Depp denies that he ever hit or raped Heard.) “I’ve never been so scared in my life,” she added.
The fact that the creators of Saturday Night Live treat what is happening as a comedy is not unusual. What’s remarkable, however, is how much the show’s creators had to keep quiet in order to turn the alleged domestic violence story into a joke. In their satirical sketch, the creators of the show did much the same thing that the Internet audience did, convinced that this trial was being conducted solely for entertainment purposes: they applied the laws of the performing arts to the trial.
They treated Heard and Depp like characters, expert witnesses like guest stars. Psychiatrist Richard Shaw testified Tuesday. When he gave his name and position – saying it in a distinct British accent – chat on one of the platforms, broadcasting the trial in real time exploded. “What a cutie! The British are the best!” – wrote one user.
“I think this guy is very honest,” said another. “I believe him,” summed up the third. And very soon, the positive feedback about the speech of this psychiatrist, which had not even ended yet, moved into the plane of comparisons. “Johnny Depp’s witnesses seem sincere and honest, while Amber’s witnesses are just a handful of liars,” declared one viewer. “None of Amber’s witnesses is credible.” which has not even ended yet, moved into the plane of comparisons. “Johnny Depp’s witnesses seem sincere and honest, while Amber’s witnesses are just a handful of liars,” declared one viewer. “None of Amber’s witnesses is credible.” which has not even ended yet, moved into the plane of comparisons. “Johnny Depp’s witnesses seem sincere and honest, while Amber’s witnesses are just a handful of liars,” declared one viewer. “None of Amber’s witnesses is credible.”
Unsurprisingly, a lot of conspiracy theories arose around Heard during the course of this trial – in a good conspiracy, there must be a suitable villain. And fanservice is a great business. Last week, Vice reported that the right-wing Daily Wire spent tens of thousands of dollars on social media ads promoting “one-sided articles and videos against Heard.”
Thus, this lawsuit even acquired the features of a political campaign: propaganda, reputation management, as well as the transfer of objective evidence into the category of obscure conjectures. As Matthew Belloni of the Puck analytics site argues, the case reflects the mainstream: in this process, “the black magic of media manipulation to gain political points.
Jokes contribute greatly to the success of this manipulation. The jokes humiliate not only Amber Heard, but also those who see shadows of their own experience in the accusations. Victims of violence watch and learn. They see emoji filling up comment sections under live streams. They see memes. They see all these lol. They see how a society unable to tell the terrible from the funny is having fun. This lawsuit will soon come to an end. But in one sense its result is already obvious. When accusations of violence are turned into the plot of a national comedy, that in itself becomes a strong piece of evidence – and a verdict.
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