Why Amber Heard is the target of violent attacks on social networks

Actress Amber Heard, called to testify in early May in the trial against her ex-husband Johnny Depp, has since been the target of violent mockery and her word is called into question on social networks.

On TikTok, Instagram and Twitter, it’s a real lynching. The videos, sketches or memes mocking Amber Heard, are numerous and accumulate millions of views, since her testimony, at the beginning of May, at the trial which opposes her to her ex-husband Johnny Depp.

The actor, let’s remember, attacks Amber Heard for defamation in an American court, accusing her of a 2018 platform in the washington post, in which she described herself as a survivor of domestic violence. Johnny Depp thus affirms that his ex-wife has ruined, with this platform, his reputation and his career. He is claiming $50 million in damages. Amber Heard is suing her for $100 million and claims she suffered “physical abuse and assault” before and during their marriage.

“The Devil Exists”

If, after nearly a month of trial, neither of the two actors comes out of this unpacking of gloomy anecdotes, testifying above all to a toxic relationship, Internet users have clearly chosen their side.

Since the beginning of May, parodies have multiplied, discrediting and denigrating the testimony of Amber Heard, celebrating her “talents” as an actress, presenting her as manipulative and narcissistic. An American tiktoker thus reaps millions of “likes” with her parodies of the actress’s testimony, implying that she plays a role.

Like her, hundreds of TikTok users took over the images of the trial, broadcast live on the Web, to divert them. They also use stock footage. “the devil exists“explains one of them, commenting on a video of the actress on a red carpet. Another hijacks the phrase “Johnny you hit me, you hit me” (Johnny, you hit me, you hit me”, pronounced at the trial, by the actress), which is one of the most repeated and diverted sentences of the trial on social networks. cats with wigs, replaying the famous dialogue. TikTok ensures however, in deleting the contents including “threats or degrading statements intended to mock, humiliate, embarrass, intimidate or hurt an individual”.

Billion views

On the platform, “very short excerpts from the trial are retained and presented with a strong bias”, analyzes Callum Hood, head of research at the Center for Countering Digital Hatean NGO that fights online misinformation, interviewed by CNN.

The hashtag #Justiceforjohnnydepp has accumulated more than 11 billion views, while #Justiceforamberheard has only 41.2 million. Some tiktoker accounts have seen their account gain 30,000 subscribers overnight, thanks to videos disparaging Amber Heard, which accumulate millions of views, according to information from CNN.

The same is true on Twitter, where the hashtag #JusticeforJohnnyDepp is also associated with all sorts of posts calling Amber Heard a diabolical, money-hungry liar. A petition demanding that the actress be cut during the editing ofAquaman 2 garnered nearly 4 million signatures.

Other hashtags are also circulating, such as “Amberturd”. “Turd”, in English means a turd, and refers to an episode told by Johnny Depp in another court in 2020, and in which he accuses Amber Heard of having defecated on his bed.

“Modern Day Martyrdom”

If a few voices are raised to defend the actress, the twittosphere seems to take up the cause of Johnny Depp. The importance of the “fanbase”, and the difference in notoriety between Johnny Depp, actor recognized and admired for thirty years, and Amber Heard, young starlet with a short filmography, are not enough to explain the difference in treatment on social networks. .

Rose Lamy, creator of the Instagram account Get ready for the fightwho published Undo sexist discourse in the media at Editions JC Lattès, sees in it “the massive organization of the masculinist sphere”. For her, “what seems to be at play here is a kind of ‘hateful’ revenge of a category of men who feel threatened by the progress of the #metoo movement, who do not dare to speak about it in public with their friends, at work”.

They erect “Johnny Depp [en] martyr of modern times and instrumentalize this case to demonstrate the oppression of men in 2022”, further analyzes the author.

Many parodies and violent attacks against Amber Heard do not always come from men, but also from young women. Rose Lamy sees there, again, the fruit of “masculinist propaganda”.

“These young women adhere to it and think they are showing discernment by highlighting their empathy for a man who is presented as a victim of social injustice. They believe they offer an image of fair, moderate feminists, opposing the stereotypes of extremist feminists imagined by anti-feminists both on the networks and in the general media.

The profile of the “good victim”

According to the testimonies of the two actors, the acts of violence emanate from both sides. Johnny Depp assured that Amber Heard hit him. And Amber Heard also described slapping and beatings. However, the word of Amber Heard seems, on social networks, to have less weight than that of Johnny Depp. The violent one is her and not him.

“The word of a woman does not have the same value as that of a man”, underlines Rose Lamy, referring to the case of Patrick Poivre d’Arvor, in France, where it took the testimony of about twenty women to “shake the confidence that public opinion or certain media had in the PPDA version”.

For the author, Amber Heard does not fit the profile of “the good victim”. In particular because of certain revelations against him. “Elements proving reciprocal violence, her mental health, her past behavior. If she lied once in her life, if she was violent, we consider that she lied about everything and that it is legitimate to lead against it a ‘punitive’ campaign.”

In May 2016, Amber Heard sued her husband for domestic violence before dropping the charges during divorce proceedings against a check for $7 million. Here again, the versions are opposed. Amber Heard says she donated the money to charities. Johnny Depp assures him that she kept the 7 million dollars. Internet users therefore accuse him of being a “gold digger”, of wanting to extract money from the actor.

Whatever the outcome of this trial, the case risks having “dramatic consequences for the victims of gender-based violence who witness the public humiliation of Amber Heard”, estimates Rose Lamy. For her, Amber Heard has lost the battle of opinion, as well as all women and victims of violence“.

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Why Amber Heard is the target of violent attacks on social networks

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