This is the most civil case of all time, filled with many dirty laundry and extraordinary details. Johnny Depp has sued Amber Heard, his ex-wife for $50,000,000 over an article she wrote in 2018. The Washington PostThe book chronicled her life as a survivor of domestic abuse. Although Depp wasn’t mentioned in this article, Heard’s lawyers claim that Heard was the one referring to Depp and that Depp’s reputation and career were damaged.
Depp testified to Disney’s decision to drop him from the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise only days after the news broke, and that he had to lose upwards of $22.5million in order to play Captain Jack Sparrow again.
In response, Heard, who is also an actor, has filed a $100 million countersuit – and her legal team has alleged that she was defamed when Depp and his lawyers called her allegations false!
The he-said, she-said drama has been widely followed, as the case has been streaming live on both Court TV and Law & Crime. It has also been closely followed on social media, and just this week a variety of hashtags related to the case have been trending, including #JusticeForJohnny, #AmberHeardIsAPsycopath, #AmberHeardIsInnocent and #IStandWithAmberHeard.
It’s often stated that there is no bad publicity, even in entertainment. However, this particular case may prove to be false.
Anthony Silard (Ph.D.), associate professor in leadership and director, Center for Sustainable Leadership, Luiss Business School, Rome, stated that “The Depp-vs. Heard trial was the latest example of social media becoming the new barometer for public opinion that determines whether or not careers are made or broken.”
“Just type #JusticeforJohnny or #IStandwithAmberHeard into Twitter for a heaping serving of vitriol from both sides,” said Silard. This social-media-advised polarization might seem funny at first, but it is actually an example of how social media is breaking us apart as society. Social media is now the ultimate arbiter for right and wrong, whether it be mask-wearing, Trump vs. Biden or NFL players kneeling during the National Anthem.
Silard stated that the rise in polarization within the U.S. is due to social media.
Silard added, “Now that our experiences of others with different views have been reduced to short text missives on social media,” Silard stated.
Social Media Case Study
Although courtroom drama is available online every day, most people do not bother to view it. It is instead followed by sounds bites, clips, and memes. It certainly impacts the courtroom of public opinion.
Although the Depp and Heard cases are complex, they have been broken down into small, TikTok-sized segments. These can sometimes be difficult to understand or inaccurate. Courtney Pade at USC, clinical assistant professor of communications and assistant director of Masters of Communication Management Program, said that TikTok will still serve similar content to the user by watching just a few posts.
Colin Campbell, an assistant professor of marketing in the Knauss School of Business University of San Diego said that people on social media want to be liked and viewed. This motivates influencers to share topics that others will be interested in, such as this trial. This increase in attention to content that is considered’spicy’ increases.
It’s not the most effective way to track a trial. They can be complex and sometimes very nuanced.
Social media attention spans can be very short. These results are that clips or remixes and short videos of trials posted often don’t give the complete context in which a statement was made. Campbell said that this could be detrimental for Depp and Heard. According to my research, people who use social media for content creation love irony and humor. Any information that is contrary to the public image or previous statements of a person can be made into memes.
This case has also proven that there is such a thing as bad press, especially in the days of social media, and there is unlikely to be any winner – regardless of the outcome.
Pade stated that “While the case’s social media has been heavily in Depp’s favor during the trial, it is unclear whether that sentiment is being reflected by the jury or if the jury is seeing distorted views due to prolific content creators.” The court of public opinion, which is important for both actors than the result of the trial’s outcome, has been used by Pade as an instrument of visual storytelling. This consumption through social media allows viewers to skip more complicated and nuanced discussions regarding domestic abuse.