But Depp needn’t succeed in court to achieve his ends. In a 2016 email to his former agent, Christian Carino, Depp wrote that Heard was “begging for total global humiliation.” Now this televised trial has resulted in an explosion of hatred and derision directed at her. The volatile actress — who at times was violent toward Depp, and who never made good on a promise to donate her entire divorce settlement to charity — is very far from a perfect victim. That made her the perfect object of a #MeToo backlash.
Online, there’s a level of industrial-scale bullying directed at Heard that puts all previous social media pile-ons to shame. Countless videos skewer Heard on TikTok; the ’NSync member Lance Bass joined in the trend of mockingly re-enacting her testimony. A makeup brand even took part in the anti-Heard melee, posting a TikTok video meant to contradict her lawyer’s description of how she covered up bruises. Meanwhile, every platform appears to be full of adoring pro-Depp memes. “Why Does It Seem Like the Entire Internet Is Team Johnny Depp?” said a Vice headline.
But it’s not just the internet. “Believe all women, except Amber Heard,” Chris Rock joked recently. A “Saturday Night Live” sketch last weekend turned one of Depp’s wildest accusations against Heard into a skit, treating her as a figure of ridicule and him as a charming scamp.