Rebecca Caraway is a junior journalism and Mustang News opinion columnist. The views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of Mustang News.
These days, everyone is able to share their 2 cents on anything that is happening in the world through social media and the internet. When big events happen, we all check twitter to see what our friends and favorite celebrities are saying or what memes they’re sharing.
The Johnny Depp v. Amber Heard trial has been one of the biggest pop culture events of the past few weeks, so of course people all over the internet have been talking about it. Undoubtedly, this trial is important –– it shows a successful man as a domestic abuse survivor and will likely affect how domestic abuse is portrayed in the media in the future.
People, though, are treating the trial like a form of entertainment, and while it is interesting to see two major celebrities sue each other, we should be taking this case as seriously as we would if a woman was the victim.
We should be more mindful in our discourse, because we’re talking about real people. It’s easy to view actors as the characters they play, as people who do not actually exist and have real emotions. This case is about real people going through a very real and scary situation. It needs to be addressed with more seriousness and empathy.
On Youtube, there are already a number of videos showing Depp’s most “savage” and “funny” moments from the trial. Conversations about the trial are all over TikTok. While many creators have taken an informative route when discussing the trial, breaking down the events and the legal terminology, many have continued “obsessed fan” behavior.
Those engaging in the latter have turned people involved in the trial into memes and characters. People pick out certain filmed moments from the trial and call them funny and then laugh about it.
Fans of Depp have already inserted their own narrative into the trial. Before Amber Heard even took the stand, they had claimed Depp the victor. They’re probably right, but this is still a defamation case about domestic abuse. It should be taken more seriously than making compilation videos on YouTube.
Is it because Depp is a man, that people feel it is okay to make jokes? Even fans of Depp who are in support of his efforts are making jokes about the trial. If the roles were reversed, would Heard fans be making TikToks about her funniest or most savage moments?
This is a case of domestic abuse, yes one with famous actors from your favorite movies, but it’s still a case of trauma and violence. If we have learned anything from this case, it is that women can be abusers to men. That should be taken seriously.
This case will set a huge precedent for male survivors of domestic abuse, which is not something we see very often and we should be paying attention. When anyone, man or women, comes forward with claims of domestic violence or sexual assualt, we should take their claims seriously, and not make memes about the trial and the people involved.