In a “disturbing” case where life mimics true crimes, Amber Heard supporters have claimed harassment and threats from Johnny Depp fans on social media.
Since April, the embattled ex-couple — who first made headlines in 2016 during their first split — have shared millions as a jury decides whether Heard, 36, had defamed Depp, 58, when she signed a 2018 statement with the Washington Post, the seemed to accuse her former love of domestic violence.
Depp is suing the actress for $50 million; Heard then filed a $100 million counterclaim.
Now that both sides have testified — though Heard’s defense is ongoing — adoring viewers are publicly tossing their support behind one or the other, using the hashtags #IStandWithJohnnyDepp and #IStandWithAmberHeard.
And while there’s no telling yet who will prevail in court, some believe Depp will win the social media campaign as tagged videos for the Pirates of the Caribbean star are currently garnering 12 billion views on TikTok alone.
That vocal support has also reared its rude head in the hallowed courtrooms of Fairfax, Virginia, where a bevy of female fans have rallied for Depp, Law & Crime’s Jesse Weber reported on Mediaite. “It’s mostly women,” Weber said. “If you hear it. . . testified, I heard many people giggling, making derogatory remarks, and laughing. . . In fact, I watched one of the court officials … tell them to calm down to show respect to the witness on the stand.”
“Bad headlines” surrounding the “circus” of a trial reportedly prompted Heard to fire her public relations firm mid-trial.
Meanwhile, Heard fans – with TikTok views reportedly totaling a comparatively paltry 44 million – have allegedly endured “sexist” trolls on social media trying to silence their side of the story, according to an insider report.
A woman told the outlet that she had blocked 13,000 threatening Twitter users since the process began. Another reportedly reported an onslaught of unwarranted violations as angry Depp fans tried to stifle their opinions, urging them to “get off social media” and even self-harm.
#IStandWithAmberHeard attorney Katie Diaz, who first expressed her support for the Aquaman graduate on May 4, claimed that since then she has received hundreds of “very disturbing” and threatening messages from strangers pointing at a coordinated “attack on women”.
While hashtags are traditionally used to increase visibility for a specific cause, Depp’s trolls appear to have embraced the trend in a campaign to intimidate and undermine Heard supporters, according to Diaz and others who spoke to Insider. They suggested that “men’s rights activists” are behind all of this, possibly because they believe men cannot be victims of domestic violence.
“None of us said men can’t be victims,” Diaz affirmed; “However, it is still overwhelmingly men who are the perpetrators,” she added.
While women are reported to be more likely to be bullied by men, critics have noted that most data on intimate partner violence is self-reported. And the stigma surrounding male victims of intimate partner abuse can skew statistics.
Some of the women told Insider that the case between Depp and Heard is close to their hearts, as they have experienced similar abuse in their own lives. They are concerned that the negative press surrounding Heard’s testimony is repelling female domestic violence survivors.
“All of Amber’s movements on the witness stand are being dissected, and the victim accusation that’s happening right now means that she takes action when she cries, and if she doesn’t cry, then she wasn’t abused,” said Sara, who withheld her last name in the interests of privacy.
“It’s a lot bigger than just Johnny Depp and Amber Heard,” she said.