Elyse, a 20-year-old from Chicago and a die-hard Johnny Depp fan, is convinced that the bruises on Amber Heard’s face are fake. Via private messaging on Twitter, Elyse tells me that she has always been fascinated by special effects makeup, which allows her to analyze the reddish swelling under Amber’s right eye with a unique talent. Heard from photos circulating in the press in 2016.
That year, Amber Heard explained that her injury was due to one of Johnny Depp’s many violent outbursts, which involved allegedly throwing an iPhone in her face. Elyse is not convinced. In fact, like so many other newly radicalized Johnny Depp fans, she is convinced there is a conspiracy.
“I could tell you right away it was makeup, given the shape and colorshe says. Not to mention that I have a chronic illness and I get tons of bruises for a yes or a no, and no one has ever had this face. Now, I’m a feminist, and I really didn’t say anything about it until I got all the details together, because I’m giving the victim the benefit of the doubt, but once I was well informed, I just realized that there really is something was wrong.”
A sinister lawsuit
The Johnny Depp vs Amber Heard saga is endless, labyrinthine and almost impossible to sum up in a few words, but I’ll do my best to keep you updated. They met in 2011 on the set of rum expressbegan dating in 2012 and married in 2015. Heard filed for divorce fifteen months later and filed for a restraining order against Depp, whom she accused of ruthless physical and verbal harassment.
Two years after their split was finalized, Heard wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post on Healing from Marriage Trauma, an article in which she never directly quotes Johnny Depp. But the actor, already mired in increasingly embarrassing financial troubles, took his ex-wife to court and demanded $50 million from her for defamation, claiming her allegations of domestic violence were pure fabrication. . Johnny Depp went so far as to say that he was the real victim, and that Amber Heard had often been aggressive and cruel throughout their relationship.
‘Madame Heard is not a victim of domestic violence, she is the author’can we read in Depp’s complaint cited by Vulture magazine, who adds that his complaint is part of? “a sophisticated scam aimed at generating positive publicity for Madame Heard and advancing her career.”
Today, everyone can see the monstrous fruits of that altercation live on television, as the sinister Depp vs. Heard lawsuit seeps into the public sphere. Legal experts doubt victory for Depp, who already has precedent of defeat in this battle against his ex-wife: his lawsuit filed against the sun in 2020 after he attacked the tabloid that called him “of a man who beats his wife”†
Depp’s claims that he was the victim also ring hollow: The Vulture article features some particularly horrifying text messages Depp sent about Heard — which I won’t reproduce here — that seem to fit perfectly with the allegations of violence she’s making. against him.
Marriage of absurd toxicity
That said, some evidence presented at the trial supports some of Johnny Depp’s defense. On April 20, the jury listened to a recording in which Amber Heard admitted… “beaten” her husband, although the details of the context remain unclear – at one point we hear Amber Heard say: “I can’t promise you that I won’t be violent again. Damn, sometimes I get so angry that I lose control.
The deeper one digs into this story, the more it reveals an absurdly toxic marriage between two people who viciously wash their dirty laundry in public for the benefit of a cynical and skeptical tabloid press. Still, I don’t think anyone expected the tidal wave of digital solidarity surrounding Depp’s innocence, especially among young people.
Type #JusticeForJohnnyDepp on Twitter and you will understand. Millions of people have come to the same conclusion: Heard is a devious sociopath in the same vein as Amy Dunne’s character; Depp let himself fall into the trap without realizing a thing. “Amber Crotte has a history of violence”, shoot a tweet. “Johnny Depp doesn’t need Hollywood. He never needed it. They are the ones who need him.” complete another.
The TikTok hashtag #JohnnyDeppIsInnocent now has more than 1.4 billion views, and users view the cryptographic subtext of Amber Heard’s testimonials as if they were the lost shots of the film. Zapruder† In a video that has gone absolutely viral, we see two tip jars on a counter in a Starbucks station: one has it written on it. “Heard,” on the other “Depp”. “Come on Johnny!”, screams the woman who is filming, pushing a dollar bill into the jar “Depp”.
Any publication that casts even a shadow of doubt on Johnny Depp’s innocence is immediately taken over by hordes of foaming teenagers, so much so that I fear this article will make me a notorious character in some of the most obnoxious corners of the internet.
Mysterious world of fans
No one really knows what to think of this trend. After witnessing the endemic rot in Hollywood in the #MeToo era, it’s a curious sight to see so many people implicitly side with an actor who is both credibly accused of violence and, let’s face it, whose peak of fame is far behind him. This is one of the dark mysteries of the fan world. If the BTS army can buy all the tickets to a tour in a nanosecond, then I think Johnny Depp’s groupies have the power to turn Amber Heard into a super harpy.
“I made a lot of friends in this community”, says a member of the #JusticeForJohnnyDepp brigade who wishes to remain anonymous. “Usually everyone supports you and everyone loves each other. In general, everyone here is very nice.”
When asked how they joined the business, they tell me that they… “wanted to use every platform, no matter how small, to spread the truth and raise awareness of how abusers lie and that it is the men who have the hardest time letting people know that they are victims of violence. It’s a much bigger issue than most people realize and I’m glad I can talk about it in some way.”
Such campaigns typically attract the more insane sections of the American right, especially QAnon fans and devoted Mike Cernovich fans, who probably still believe that Seth Rich was murdered by the Clintons. The #DeppJustice movement isn’t overtly political, but I was amazed at how many of the people I encountered for this article are promoting other progressive causes in their Twitter bios. In this universe, it’s perfectly normal for #FreePalestine to interact with #FreeJohnny on social media.
The sources I spoke to all described their passion for the Depp-Heard scandal using the kind of language typically used for social justice operations. I didn’t feel they came to their conclusions by force of 8chan. No, they are guided by the same benevolent instincts that lead so many young people to online activism and lead them in a dubious direction.
“A large number of people in this community are victims themselves or have met people who have been victims” of domestic violence, continues the activist I spoke to. “When Johnny speaks up and says he’s a victim and explains what it’s like to go through, it gives us all a voice. […] To me it’s incredibly inspiring to see him stand up to all that hatred and say, ‘No, that’s the truth. It also gave me the courage to talk about my story.
They summarize the cause as follows: “Ultimately, we are passionate not because we love Captain Jack Sparrow, but because we want to raise awareness of a very real problem that is often swept under the rug.”
Bots and scammers
That said, I’m still not convinced that the #DeppJustice movement is completely bottom-up. In 2022, it’s impossible to speak forcefully on the face of it, so I’m not surprised that Fox News reports that 11% of Twitter accounts participating in the conversation on this topic are bots, with the majority siding with Amber Heard.
For scammers, the opportunities to monetize every divide in the culture war are countless, and it’s a safe bet that these invaders pushed the unleashing of this melodrama to its current height with many publications. many people who still care about Johnny Depp† With every cycle of social networks, we have to remember that sometimes the hits are cardboard.
This will hardly matter to those already fully committed to the #DeppJustice case. Whatever happens in court, they have confirmed their opinion. Elyse tells me that when she was little, she met Johnny Depp on a movie set near the town where she lived. She gave him a drawing of Jack Sparrow and he hugged her. That’s all Elyse needs to know, deep in her heart, that she’s on the right side of history. “The impression of kindness he left me that day really hasn’t left me since,” she explains. It is a beautiful memory and I hope those who abuse his trust find it difficult to sleep at night.