Rebecca Caraway is a junior journalist and opinion columnist for Mustang News. The opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of Mustang News.
These days, everyone can share their year on anything that happens in the world through social media and internet. When big events happen, we all check Twitter to see what our friends and favorite celebrities or memes they share are saying.
Johnny Depp’s trial against Amber Heard 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. There is no doubt that this trial is significant – it portrays a successful man as a survivor of domestic violence and is likely to influence how domestic violence is portrayed in the media in the future.
Despite this, people take the trial as a form of entertainment, and while it’s interesting to see two big celebrities suing each other, we should take this issue seriously as if the woman was the victim.
We should be more mindful in our speech, because we are talking about real people. It’s easy to see the actors as the characters they play, as people who don’t really exist and have real feelings. This case is about real people going through a very real and scary situation. It must be treated with more seriousness and empathy.
On Youtube there are already a number of videos showing the most “brutal” and “funny” moments of Depp from the trial. Conversations about the experience are spreading all over TikTok. While many creators took an informative route when discussing the experience, detailing events, and legal jargon, many continued their “fanatic” behavior.
Those involved in the latter have transformed the people involved in the trial into memes and characters. People choose specific moments filmed from the trial, describe them as funny, and then laugh about them.
Depp’s fans have already entered their own version of the trial. Before Amber Heard took the stand, they claimed Depp was the victor. They may be right, but this is still a defamation case regarding domestic violence. It should be taken more seriously than creating YouTube collages.
Is it because Depp is a guy that people feel is okay with telling jokes? Even Depp fans who support his efforts scoff at the trial. If the roles were reversed, would Heard fans make TikToks for her funniest or wildest moment?
This is an issue about domestic violence, yes an issue with famous actors from your favorite movies, but it’s still about trauma and violence. If we’ve learned anything from this issue, it’s that a woman can be abusive to a man. It must be taken seriously.
This case will set a great precedent for survivors of domestic violence, something we don’t see often and should pay attention to. When anyone, man or woman, makes allegations of domestic violence or sexual assault, we must take their allegations seriously, and not publish memos about the trial and the people involved.