The Depp-Heard trial is more gruesomethan you think

Depp-Heard trial

Around the third or fourth time I logged into Twitter to find “#AmberHeardIsAPsychopath” at the
top of the trending list, I realized that there was no longer any pretending that the Depp-Heard
defamation trial was not a terrible, foreboding reflection of our culture’s worst impulses.


The media has reported the extent to which this trial has been a referendum on the Me Too
movement and an appeal against domestic abusers.


The trial’s narrative is influenced in part by an apparent, according to several experts, an army
of bots that have been spreading messages that are favorable to Depp. A researcher found
more bots that are favorable to Heard however, they said that the majority of them were
third-party websites seeking to profit from the trial. Moreover, they discovered that the most
support for the Depp bot was shared almost 20000 times. The work of these bots has been
intensified further via “men’s rights activists” — a segment of the extremist right-wing
“manosphere” that seems to be deciding that discrediting Amber Heard is the key to defying all
women who accuse men of domestic abuse or violence.


The conservative media has been promoting a biased view of the trial; Vice recently revealed on
Ben Shapiro’s renowned conservative news website The Daily Wire has spent nearly $50,000
advertising about this trial via Instagram and Facebook with the bulk of them slamming Amber Heard. This presence of poor actors has, in reality, just heightened the hatred Heard has been subjected to in the mainstream media.

Trial-themed memes — nearly always weighed against Heard the trial — have taken across the
web and have spread from TikTok and the Twitch platform and even Etsy. Then there’s Saturday
Night Live has ridiculed the trial’s controversies as the numerous excesses and absurdities in
the as well as social media users who have also seen the trial as suitable for mockery. On
TikTok For instance the accounts that are not related to each other appear to have been
enslaved to the full-on mockery of the trial until the truth of the evidence is irrelevant in
comparison to the need to extract the proceedings to provide entertainment. It’s true that Amber
Heard cried while on the stand but did you notice how silly she appeared in her pajamas?


To put it in a mild way the surreal surge of online culture’s vilification of Heard is both troubling
and disconcerting. What was it that made millions of us feel right to treat an intimate, toxic, and
personal relationship as popcorn? What was the point at which men’s rights activists poisoned
the discussion surrounding this trial? When could a fair assessment of the factual evidence be
established? Was that ever the case?


The majority of reporting on the memes has focused on the table for their extreme tone directly
on the development of fandom’s content creation. However, remember that the alt-right white
supremacist movement has a been known for a long time to make memes of every aspect of
what they seek to legitimately and normalize the movement, and you should keep in your mind
that the alt-right jumped to this as their mainstay long before fandom or the internet as a whole
did. In the present, following several years of propaganda campaigns for political disinformation,
We’re accustomed to the power of social media’s ability to alter reality. It’s rare, however, that it
twisted this to the extreme, at this speed for this many people, to serve an act of such a vile
nature.

In the course of this trial humanity’s basic empathy appears to have gone out of the door.
Beyond that, understanding is difficult to grasp and there seems to be any room to even
consider the truth in the circumstances. The main outlines that the abuse was taking place were
clearly defined prior to when even the 2018 opinion piece the actor is challenged over appeared
in the press. The fundamental circumstances of the matter have received their day in court in
the past, after being presented to the court of a British court in 2020 with the judge ruling that
Heard’s case was in his favor. However, the fundamental, established facts don’t seem to be
relevant.

The facts don’t appear to be of any importance to the majority of people who have happily clung
to the notion of Heard as a manipulative villain and as if she cut her own lips and punched her
own face and pulled out hair clumps.
What we’re seeing here are the dramatic effects that are compounded by the theory of Alice
Marwick, an internet researcher of morally motivated networked harassment that states that
social media users are able to justify any kind of abuse targeted at a person in the event that
they feel their reason is morally correct. On a larger scale, this appears like, and in reality is
thousands of people across the globe lining up to voluntarily subject a woman to endless
quantities of abuse, public humiliation, and violent rhetoric. (Incidentally, this is exactly the kind
of thing Depp would like to happen to her and, therefore, even in the event that he loses but
wins, he will still win.)


To be certain it’s not an easy tale of goodness and evil. It’s difficult to completely exonerate
Amber Heard, who has an alleged criminal history and a history of violence, or to frame Depp as
a demon incapable of charity, kindness, or the positive vibe that has earned them millions of his
fans at first. However, you don’t have to do either of these things to recognize the fact that this
case is concerning the extremely unfunny subject of abuse of an intimate partner and that the
most important issues of the trial have already been decided by one judge. The judge in the
initial trial in 2020 determined that Heard had proved twelve of 14 claims that he was abused.

To
date, no evidence in the trial has significantly contradicted the initial claim that she was a
survivor of domestic violence.
Cultural critic Ella Dawson has a Twitter thread that compiles reports on the many ways this trial
isn’t just damaging the years of progress made against domestic violence in the US and setting
the stage for a society in which bots and criminals target, harass and degrade all famous
women who openly identify their abusers – like Gamergate however multiplied by tens of millions
of participants. They are also enthusiastically embraced by all across American culture.


Above all over, the TikTok cat memes who mock Heard in the TikTok cast members and
Saturday Night Live dissing the entire case by calling it “for fun” — is the thing that’s truly
jaw-dropping in this. The trial, which is the simple question of the issue of whether Heard was
allowed to claim she was a victim of domestic violence in just one paragraph from the essay,
brought together far-right feminists, middle-of-the-road liberals, and geeky fandom Acolytes of
Depp.


The people who spent the past decade hashtagging #believewomen and opposing online
harassment campaigns and, in particular, fighting white supremacy have, in the duration of this
trial been sucked into bed with the vilest types of internet snobbery -at least 11 percent aren’t
even real as per one researcher of bots perhaps because they are really fans of Captain Jack
Sparrow.


The massive amount of this takeover of culture by Depp and his acolytes has resulted in an
enormous shift in values to a point that could remain unchangeable. Trial watchers are accepting false information about the trial while doing all they can to discredit or discredit theactual facts of the trial.


Some of the arguments in opposition to Amber Heard sound like the QAnon-level of
conspiracies and rabbit holes. (Amber Heard’s suite of the trial is a prime example. They are
now part of the dark story that claims Heard is manipulative and tries to intimidate and tamper
with Depp by imitating his suit of trial.) This trial has done what our paranoid, enraged
ideological fringe has not yet achieved: a total dismantling of the ideological divide that has
divided us politically as well as the widespread acceptance of a story that was created and
controlled by the bad actors and far-right extremists.


The trial of Depp and Heard has altered the Gamergate strategy in a manner that will be a
recurring theme for a long time to come. It has demonstrated to the extremes that when you
gather around a popular public person or institution, cover the person in a safe sphere of
misinformation and outrage, and use fandom as a weapon -that is already vulnerable to
radicalization on the basis of ideology and irresponsible groupthink -it is possible to successfully
bring any narrative in the media you like to the forefront.
There’s no way to recover from this. The verdict of the trial has become irrelevant. It’s not the
fact that Amber Heard will forever be an imperfect accuser whose unstable past was used to
undermine the infamous movement of Me Too. It’s the fact that there will be many more Amber
Heard, and a lot of them will be marginalized with fewer resources to stand up to this swarm of
hatred.


It’s no coincidence that this event is taking place against the backdrop of increasing racist
violence as well as the rapid loss of years of human rights protections for women or trans
individuals. The Depp-Heard trial just taught millions of people to let go of their own compassion
or their own rational judgment in exchange for hilarious mockery, rejection, and ridicule of a
woman who is vulnerable in the public. If you’re not convinced that this kind of training could be
used against weak targets, then you’re not paying enough attention.