Why the memes of the trial of Johnny Depp and Amber Heard disturb

The internet has gotten a little more disturbing and darker since April 11. The video “Johnny Depp’s epic entrance to the trial overshadows Amber Heard’s 😂” adds more than a million views on YouTube. On Twitter it he has retweeted the interpreter 26,000 times laughing out loud when a witness responds to whether he could see Depp’s genitals, in a clip that is intended to function as a comedic coup by the use of ironic subtitles and emojis. Another montage, this time on TikTok, in which it is said that the actor had a “WILD” day in court and his smiles on the stand are interspersed with a choppy and agile montage while comical music plays in the background, accumulates more than seven and a half million views and some 54,000 comments.

Although it is logical that the narrative dynamics that most reward the algorithm’s exposure mechanisms go viral, it is both creepy and depressing to see how the civil trial between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard has become meme meat. And one of the worst we’ve seen in years. The interested spectacularization of a judicial process in which events as terrifying as bottle rape It has reached truly alarming heights in the semantics of its virality, especially on TikTok, a territory that has subscribed to this confrontation in the most disturbing way possible since the day the civil lawsuit began over the defamation complaint that Depp filed against Heard in 2019.

Taking advantage of the fact that the process is being televised in real time on YouTube, in addition to the live connections of various television channels specialized in trials, the visual material on this confrontation has become the gasoline that moves TikTok in recent weeks. Since the declarations began, the number of clips judicial in which the language has been integrated, the decontextualized and even humorous narrative that works so well on that network, only that what is being consumed en masse and accumulating billions of views is a case of gender violence. The videos that are dominating the viral discourse, in addition, come from the side of the defenders of Johnny Depp, who crush the majority in the production of content: the label #justiceforjohnnydepp (justice for Johnny Depp) accumulates 8.3 billion views on TikTok, while #justiceforamberheard (justice for Amber Heard) barely reaches 30 million.

It is a decompensation that does not rule out conspiracy delirium, like the theories that fantasize that Heard’s lawyer is actually a secret follower of Johnny Depp, or like when it went viral “the moment in which Heard understood that he was going to jail” in a trial in which no one will be sentenced to prison, as it is a civil dispute.

There have also been particularly embarrassing moments, such as verifying that a cosmetics brand is capable of ignoring its scruples to promote itself on account of a court case in which situations of violence are being denounced. It all happened when Amber Heard’s lawyer explained that the actress had resorted to makeup to cover the bruises that Depp allegedly caused her during her relationship. To reinforce her idea, the lawyer raised a palette of shadows and highlighters, and, although she did not mention the brand at any time, the detectives TikTok did not take long to identify her: Milani Cosmetics. The firm took advantage of that sudden burst of attention to launch a clip that accumulates almost six million views, claiming that the product Heard’s attorney showed was not put up for sale until the couple split. What difference does it make if the lawyer had taught it in a symbolic way during her intervention. Let no one lose that glimpse of self-promotion and virality, even if it is on account of the complaint of a beating.

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Why the memes of the trial of Johnny Depp and Amber Heard disturb