However, the mutual accusations are heavy. Johnny Depp assures that his ex-wife ruined his reputation by claiming, in a column published in 2018, to have been the victim of domestic violence two years earlier. He rejects these allegations and claims 50 million in damages.
Amber Heard, 36, counterattacked and asked for the double, claiming to have suffered years of violence, including a rape in 2015, and accusing her ex-husband of having wanted to “ruin his career”.
The public for Johnny
Every morning, several hundred people greet the actor in court in this small town in Virginia, near Washington, compared to a handful of signs in favor of Amber Heard.
On social networks, the advantage is also clearly to the 58-year-old comedian. Passions are unleashed on Twitter and TikTok where with 15.3 billion “views” on Tuesday, the hashtag “Justice for Johnny Depp” far exceeded “I am with Amber Heard” (8.4 million).
“Nothing surprises me with social networks and celebrities” and this case concerns “two big celebrities”, explains Jason Mollica, professor of communication at American University. According to him, Johnny Depp is a world-renowned actor who has always avoided society life and kept “this mysterious side” that fans love.
Amber Heard, she is much less known. She has been trying since the start of the trial to appear “more normal and close to people”, according to Mr Mollica, but his former assistant, Kate James, described an “aggressive” and “theatrical” personality.
Internet users “express their opinions without being legal experts”, says the former journalist. This lawsuit revealed “the flashiest sides of the case but we may never have the truth, buried in the muddy waters of social networks”.
Hostility towards Amber
The hostility to Amber Heard, ambassador of the civil rights organization ACLU for domestic violence, is old. The actress’ career “was on the verge of a meteoric rise” after the worldwide success of “Aquaman” released at the end of 2018, said Kathryn Arnold, an expert in the entertainment industry, on Monday.
But she received “a lot of negative publicity” after the column published in the Washington Post, she added. The cyberbullying campaigns generally followed statements by one of Johnny Depp’s lawyers and surrounded the actor’s first defamation lawsuit in London in 2020, said social media analyst Ron Schnell.
A Warner Bros studio official, however, emphasized the “lack of chemistry” between her and actor Jason Momoa during “Aquaman” to explain her limited appearances in the second opus, filmed in 2021. And in Hollywood , few stars have shown their support for Amber Heard, unlike Johnny Depp.
The future of #MeToo
In a forum, the New York Times recently feared that the outcome of the trial, if the jurors did not agree with Amber Heard, could mean the “death” of the #MeToo movement against violence against women.
“I don’t think it will influence victims whether or not they want to report abuse,” said Shana Maier, a professor of criminal justice at Widener University. Similarly, it rules out the risk of “backlash against victims or women’s defense associations”.
She emphasizes that this trial has the merit of “highlighting the issue of domestic violence”. “There will always be people who will say of Amber Heard: + why did she say that if it didn’t happen? +”, abounds Jason Mollica.
A previous ?
For Mr. Mollica, however, this lawsuit could influence other defamation lawsuits involving celebrities, such as the one brought by singer Marilyn Manson, a friend of Johnny Depp, against his ex-girlfriend Evan Rachel Wood.