Ludlow reacts to Depp/Heard trial

Alivia Hamel, Guest Writer

Due to social media, the Johnny Depp Vs, Amber Heard trial has been witnessed by millions, and many students at Ludlow High School have followed the case. One high school student, Maggie Ayers explained, “It was on my for you page [on TikTok] and it looked interesting. I’m a sucker for conflict and drama.”

Leading up to the Depp v. Heard Trial 

In 2019, Johnny Depp sued his ex-wife, Amber Heard, for defamation over an op-ed article she wrote in 2018. Depp and Heard divorced in January of 2017 after a toxic 5 year relationship. Heard referred to herself as someone who represents domestic abuse in her op-ed. 

Heard was appointed spokeswoman for the ACLU, or American Civil Liberties Union, as a women’s rights activist. 

Heard was believed by the majority of the public when she made her claims, before any kind of trial or rebuttal. Johnny was even called a wife-beater in The Sun’s article titled ‘Depp did it Before’. This article was actually brought to trial by Depp in 2020, but Depp lost the case. The Sun then doubled down, creating a new article stating “On behalf of domestic abuse survivors, we can now confirm that he is a wife-beater.”

Depp lost his role in Pirates of the Caribbean, Fantastic Beasts, and many more before any trial was held. Johnny is now suing Amber Heard for 50 million dollars on the basis of defamation. Heard is counter-suing Depp for 100 million. 

How the trial took social media by storm

 This case took the media by storm as news outlets, social media influencers, and fans came to defend either Depp or Heard. Most likely, the biggest way young people are receiving news from the trial is through TikTok. It started with fans posting in support of their favorite celebrities, but then turned into something much bigger. Fans of Johnny Depp started mocking and ridiculing  Amber Heard, and vice versa. 

This caused the spread of memes, trends, and viral sounds across the app. Andrew Lynch, a Ludlow High School student who has followed this case mainly through TikTok, stated “It is mostly at Amber Heard’s expense. I don’t think anyone is really mocking Johnny Depp for this,” regarding the TikTok comedy videos made about the case. 

On the podcast On the Media, Brandy Zadrozny states “the #JusticeforJohnnyDepp has over 10 billion views on TikTok.” 

Along with the TikTok fame, this case entered the national news. Of course, with different news stations, different opinions were shown. Some channels leaned very pro-Depp, while others seemed to be on Amber Heard’s side. 

The public seems to come to Johnny Depp’s defense

The general public seems to be on Johnny Depp’s side. Social media is always curated so that you only see what you want to, but a few factors can confirm this belief. Outside the courtroom, crowds of people rushed to support Depp whenever he came out of the building. These crowds had very little, if any, support for Amber Heard. 

As was stated previously, the #JusticeforJohnnyDepp was in full effect on social media. Slowly but surely, the public opinion swayed out of the favor of Amber Heard, who initially harbored the collective support of the media. Ludlow High School student, Ava Benard, shared “People are more inclined, without knowing a lot, to believe Amber Heard, but the more you look into the case, I think you may change your stance.”

Amber Heard has been exposed in the media for lying during her testimonies. She continually contradicts past statements, and even contradicts people on the stand who claim they witnessed the same thing she did. It isn’t hard to find all of her past statements regarding Johnny Depp, and these clips have been stitched together with clips of her testimonies in the Depp v. Heard trial. These stitched videos bring her credibility into question. 

One specific video called “Amber Heard contradicting herself for 10 minutes,” shows Heard testifying that she was not a fan of Johnny Depp before meeting him, then showing a clip of her years ago being asked if she was a fan of Johnny’s growing up, where she answers “who isn’t a fan of Johnny’s, I mean that’s a given.” Many videos like this have spread across the internet, showing one clip of her testimony and another clip of different answers prior to this case. 

With Heard’s lies brought up in the media, it has caused many people to question everything she says. Lying about abuse is an incredibly bold and malicious thing to do. Andrew Lynch claimed, “I believe the public viewpoint regarding this trial is that Amber Heard is a horrific individual. She has lost all public respect and I can’t imagine her getting hired or casted for new roles, but I’m sure Hollywood will do it anyways.”

How do Ludlow students feel about the case?

When asked about how she feels about the way the trial is portrayed in the media, Ava Benard said, “it’s a comedy.” Many of the videos posted about the trial are funny. They make jokes about the lawyers, judge, plaintiff, and defendant. Benard also confirmed, “Johnny Depp’s lawyers are doing a good job of making Amber look like a liar. She looks guilty.” Amber Heard has been incessantly made fun of for her ‘acting’ on the stand, and consistent staring toward the jurors. Many people have said this makes her look even more guilty. 

Regarding Johnny Depp on the stand, Andrew Lynch said, “Johnny Depp is just very cool and collected. He seems like he’s being genuine.”

“I think they are both in the wrong in different ways… Johnny did drugs and was known to wreck hotels and his home, but Amber is in the wrong for her known abuse and bringing it to the public instead of handling it privately.” Here, Maggie Ayers brings up a good point: the media is not showing Depp’s wrongdoings. Ayers was clear that she was on Depp’s side in this case, but we cannot pretend Johnny is a model citizen. Depp has been dealing with addiction for many years and has displayed some disturbing behavior in the past. None of his past behavior points to any abuse, but he is not as perfect as the media might make him out to be. 

What does the verdict mean?

On June 1st, after three days of deliberation, the jury came back with a verdict in overwhelming support of Depp. He was awarded 15 million dollars, and Heard was awarded 2 million. There are many stances on what this verdict means going forward. 

Unfortunately, this verdict has brought out many people who will use this case to say that women lie about domestic abuse, and shouldn’t be believed. Ayers says, “No matter the gender, you should always hear out accusations of domestic abuse.”

This trial also could embolden men who are victims to come forward and know that they too have a voice in this matter. This was a unique case with many things that made it a nationwide story, but one of the biggest victories was Depp clearing his name. Through the judicial system, it has been decided that Heard’s claims toward Depp were false and malicious.