After winning his libel suit in the US – a civil suit he filed against his ex-wife, Amber Heard – Johnny Depp is living the good life.
Before the verdict was even read, he was on tour with British musician Jeff Beck, starting in Sheffield, where an unsuspecting audience (including my father) was treated to the surprise entrance to the pirates of the caribbean star. The predominantly male crowd at Sheffield Town Hall “enjoyed” Depp’s presence, Dad said. It “raised the atmosphere”.
On Sunday, Depp, Beck, plus their security personnel and entourage, rented out the entire Indian restaurant in Birmingham. Depp was never one to shy away from excess and reportedly spent £50,000 on the meal, splashing out on wine, champagne and cocktails.
He’s even joined TikTok, that trendy young platform populated largely by trendy young stuff, though he’s yet to post his first video.
Depp was not present in the Virginia courtroom when the jury reached their conclusion. Perhaps he already knew he had won where it matters — on social media.
It’s all gravy in Deppland, and maybe it is. The “global humiliation” he promised his ex-wife is complete. Abuse has descended on her on every platform imaginable, covering social media like a biblical plague. Heard’s facial expressions, gestures and mannerisms have been dissected and vandalized by armchair detectives, her testimony mocked with filters and by TikTok users impersonating and robbing the camera.
Forget locusts, darkness, hail, water turning to blood – try to be an unpopular woman who testifies against a popular man.
Some comments and tweets from users aimed at: Independent contributors and contributors on Depp v Heard were truly shocking in their brutality. When I shared our content about the trial on Twitter, I noticed that no hashtag with just the name Heard was suggested, as annoying and abusive hashtags were ubiquitous and obliterated neutral or supportive alternatives.
Other public figures who dare to express even the mildest ounce of support have become targets of intimidation. A psychiatrist who testified on Heard’s behalf has spoken of receiving some of the abuse and of Depp’s apparent reluctance to temper his fans’ behavior.
Not once in the course of this brutal six-week court battle did Depp make a statement that read, “I know you all love me, but can you please bring it down just a little bit?” The fact that he hasn’t told you everything you need to know, as the text messages to his friend Paul Bettany, where he wrote: “Let’s drown her before we burn her!!! I’ll fuck her burnt corpse afterwards to make sure she’s dead.”
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Depp has chosen to join TikTok now, given the amount of support the users have given him. It’s home to some of the most evil, misogynistic anti-Heard content, including conspiracy theories about her sniffing cocaine in the stands, and the most fawning, adorable pro-Depp videos.
Sign up for our free weekly Voices Dispatches newsletter by to stay up to date with the latest opinions and comments click here
TikTok has been a richly rewarding little cutie for Depp, something that wouldn’t be weird had it not been for a UK court ruling that he had assaulted Heard ten times and put her in fear for her life three times. His appeal in Britain was rejected. Regardless, Depp already has 3.9 million followers on TikTok before he even published a single post.
Clémence Michallon, our American culture writer, described herself as “sick” from the case she reported on for seven weeks. She wrote: “During all this, the cruelty of those who mock Heard never ceased to amaze me.” This cruelty has been normalized and condoned by Depp’s silence. He’s the only person his legions of fans have listened to, and the fact that he didn’t confront them about Heard’s harassment online and outside the courtroom is very revealing.
Heard is summarily destroyed. I wonder how many of us can honestly say that our mental health would ever recover if we had the same treatment. But don’t worry, at least Johnny is on TikTok now. Soon he will be dancing to Harry Styles, with cute filters, and giving people what they want. Maybe he’ll also reprise his role as Captain Jack Sparrow and really treat us all.