By Emma Kidger
On April 11, actor Johnny Depp went to court to sue his ex-wife Amber Heard for an Op/Ed she wrote against him. The televised trial currently claims the hot seat for social media trends and fans even stand outside the courthouse just to cheer or boo the individuals who come out. While I understand both Amber Heard and (especially) Johnny Depp are public figures in pop culture, the mass popularization and trending conversations on the case solely takes away the professionalism and seriousness of the case and the issue at hand. From Tik Tok trends to memes, the ongoing jokes and romanticization of the Depp V. Heard case takes away the severity of the topics discussed which range from domestic violence to sexual assault. Rather than focusing on the important conversations being had on such detrimental issues that people face every day, mass media explores the comical testimonies of various celebrities and their closest friends, family, and colleagues. Due to the huge weight Depp and Heard’s careers have on the popularity of the case, outside viewers of the trial lack the realization that the two parties are still real people with real lives and issues. The obnoxious and limitless social media involvement on the case continues to find humor from the lives of celebrities who are placed on pedestals avoiding the reality and penalizing accusations being made.
The hostile battle on social media seems to surpass the actual war in the courtroom. The Rolling Stone argues “an even uglier shadow war has been raging in the court of public opinion,” which highly favors Depp’s side and violently points fingers at Heard. “#freejohnny ” hashtags are the least of Amber Heard’s worries as she receives a plethora of death threats and vulgar comics and drawings. While I’m far from opposing Depp, the overwhelming trends against Heard undeniably takes away from the severity of the case. Journalist Eve Barlow claims “the live broadcast of this trial is highly dehumanizing, and has resulted in obsessional nit-picking,” to which viewers are paying more attention to what the individuals wear and their small body language or facial expressions rather than focusing on the issue of the case. When it comes to topics of domestic violence and sexual assault the focus of the case should be nothing but serious. However, social media and outrageous trends just continue to glorify the court case and have begun an unnecessary war online. This case needs to be treated as it is and just because the two parties involved are celebrities doesn’t mean we need to make our social media trends and everyday conversations about the trial.