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Johnny Depp-Amber Heard trial: Court resumes with Heard on stand

Amber Heard returned to the stand Monday after the defamation trial recessed for more than a week.

Live coverage on this blog has ended, please click here for the latest in the trial.

After more than a week off, the trial in actor Johnny Depp’s defamation suit against his ex-wife Amber Heard resumed Monday.

Before the trial went on break this month, Heard was on the witness stand describing disturbing allegations of domestic violence. On Monday, Heard testified about her intentions in writing the essay at the center of the trial, an op-ed she wrote for The Washington Post in 2018 in which she described surviving domestic violence — without mentioning Depp by name.

Depp’s legal team began its cross-examination of Heard on Monday, pressing her about the severity of injuries she says Depp inflicted and about her failure to fulfill her pledge in her divorce settlement to two charities.

139d ago / 9:36 PM UTC

First day of cross-examination on Heard charity contention ends

The cross-examination of Heard ended Monday after a tense exchange with Depp's attorney over her failure to fulfill her pledge in her divorce settlement to two charities.

During her testimony earlier Monday, Heard admitted that she has not yet donated the entirety of her $7 million settlement to the American Civil Liberties Union and Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles.

She said under oath that that was because Depp filed the $50 million suit against her but that she intends to resume donations in the future.

Depp's attorney pushed her about the issue during the cross-examination, accusing her of wanting to keep some of the settlement money for herself.

"You're very wrong about that," Heard said.

Depp's attorney, Camille Vasquez, said during cross-examination that the donations were an attempt by Heard to make her allegations "seem believable" and to come across as a "noble victim."

Heard denied ever wanting to be seen as or referring to herself as a victim. She also denied insinuations that she was after Depp for his wealth.

"Didn't get it, wasn't interested in it," Heard said of Depp's money. "I loved Johnny. That's why I was with him."

Court adjourned Monday after that line of questioning.

139d ago / 9:02 PM UTC

Heard says she shared photo of Depp with friend for 'support'

Camille Vasquez, Depp’s attorney, questioned Heard during cross-examination about whether she sent a photo to a friend of Depp sleeping after allegedly having consumed drugs.

Vasquez characterized a photo of Depp asleep with ice cream spilled on him as "embarrassing" and asked whether Heard had sent it to anyone. Heard initially said she couldn't recall, but then Vasquez showed a screenshot of a text message sent to Heard's best friend.

"This is what I'm dealing with," a message read.

"And this is you supporting Mr. Depp?" Vasquez asked, referring to Heard's statement that she took the photos because she was concerned for Depp.

"That is me getting support from my best friend," Heard said. "I also need support."

Vasquez then asked whether she was scared that Depp would be upset at her for sending the photo. When Heard responded that "of course" she was, Vasquez noted that it didn't stop her from sending it to her friend.

"Why would it?" Heard responded.

Vasquez moved on to a different line of questioning.

139d ago / 8:50 PM UTC

Heard calls out medical document listing her as a 'well-nourished male'

In an exchange with Depp's attorney Camille Vasquez, Heard rebutted the quality and thoroughness of a medical exam given to her at a time she claims she had sustained injuries from Depp.

"This record doesn't document any physical injuries on you, does it?" Vasquez said of the Dec. 17, 2015, document.

Heard replied she didn't believe the document showed a record of injuries but added that she hadn't spoken with the physician, Dr. David Kipper, on the day of the exam. Heard said she had gone to the office for a concussion check.

Heard said she didn't get into the specificity of her injuries or what happened to her. She said she asked only whether she needed any further diagnostics.

Vasquez said the document shows Heard's skin was deemed "in tact" at the visit, with normal color.

Heard responded, "It also says I'm a well-nourished male," referring to a spot on the document that listed Heard as "male."

"I think this medical record is missing a lot of things," Heard said.

139d ago / 8:33 PM UTC

Depp's attorney cross-examines Heard

Depp's legal team began its cross-examination of Heard on Monday afternoon, questioning her about her testimony regarding the injuries she alleges she sustained from Depp.

Depp's attorney presented Heard with numerous photos of her after incidents of alleged abuse, asking whether she could see any visible signs of injury.

"None that you can see," Heard responded multiple times.

The attorney pointed out Heard's deposition testimony stating that Depp frequently wore rings and then asked about photos after Depp allegedly hit her in the face. Heard responded that she was wearing makeup in several of the photos and that she used ice to reduce swelling from her injuries.

Depp's attorney also replayed audio in which Heard tells Depp he should tell the world that he was a domestic abuse victim and that it was a "fair fight."

"I said that to the man who beat me up, yes," Heard said. "I thought it was preposterous."

Heard was then asked, "And the man you beat up numerous times?"

"I could never hurt Johnny," Heard responded.

139d ago / 7:36 PM UTC

Heard shares how her career has been affected

Heard starred in the first installment of the “Aquaman” series alongside actor Jason Momoa, who played the title character. She also appeared in the film “Justice League.”

Her role as Mera in "Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom" was greatly reduced, Heard said, following allegations made by Depp's former attorney, which were detailed in articles in the Daily Mail. Adam Waldman, Depp's former lawyer, had called her abuse allegations a "hoax."

"I was given a script and then given new versions of the script that had scenes that had action in it, that depicted my character and another character, without giving any spoilers away ... they basically took a bunch out of my role," she said.

She said she has been able to work on only one small independent film called "Into the Fire" since the articles were published.

139d ago / 7:16 PM UTC

'It's torture,' Heard says of accusations she's lying

Shortly before Heard's attorneys finished questioning her, they asked her to speak about the emotional impact of the accusations from Depp's former attorney that she lied about being abused.

"It's torture. It's torturous," Heard said. "No one should have to do that. I want to move on with my life. I have a baby. I want to move on. ... I want Johnny to move on, too. I want him to leave me alone."

Heard said she is forced to relive the "painful memories" of the alleged abuse every day.

"Embarrassing, intimate details that I never wanted to be known, never wanted to be public ever, and to have them used every single day to call me a liar," Heard said. "I have to relive this every single day that I have to address those claims."

139d ago / 7:09 PM UTC

Heard addresses her countersuit

Heard’s attorneys moved to ask her to address why she asked for a countersuit after Depp filed a defamation claim against her.

The lawyer leading Heard's testimony entered Daily Mail articles into evidence that included statements from Depp's former attorney Adam Waldman calling her abuse allegations a "hoax."

"This is what I lived through, and to say that it's a hoax, that these aren't even real things," Heard said, "I mean, after everything I've lived through and everything I survived ... I hadn't even spoke about the sexual abuse within my marriage. ... I didn't want to talk about that ever."

She went on to rebut Waldman's accusations that she and her friends staged bruises and destruction in the apartment for photos that were included into evidence earlier.

Heard questioned why she would have refused to speak to police in May 2016 if her only intention was to destroy her former husband.

"I tried really hard to keep it private, even after that, even when I was committed to filing for divorce," Heard said. "I tried to protect Johnny. I tried to protect the history of what we had."

Heard testified that following the accusations that her abuse allegations were a "hoax," L'Oréal suspended an advertisement campaign she was contracted to do.

139d ago / 6:46 PM UTC

'It's not about Johnny. ... It's about me': Heard explains decision to publish op-ed

Heard explained her intention behind publishing the 2018 op-ed in The Washington Post that prompted Depp to file his defamation suit.

The essay at the center of the trial was initially drafted by the American Civil Liberties Union, for which Heard was an ambassador, as the country was discussing women's issues, Heard said.

"I was trying to raise awareness around some of the issues that I just mentioned," Heard said.

She said she was happy to weigh in on what women experience "when they come forward against somebody more powerful when they speak up about gender-based violence."

Heard said she did not want to include Depp's name in the matter. She said she sought legal advice before the essay was published and that she had not written the headlines for the essay either online or in print.

Heard had no intention of going after her ex-husband when she published the essay, she told the court.

"It's not about Johnny. The only one who thought it was about Johnny was Johnny," Heard said. "It's about me. It's about what happened to me after Johnny. It's about what happened to me after I escaped my marriage. It was about me and my life and what I endured."

139d ago / 6:33 PM UTC

Heard says Depp threatened to 'ruin' her career

On a recorded phone call around the time of their divorce, which was played for the courtroom, Heard can be heard talking to Depp about the documentation of their allegedly violent relationship.

In the recording, Heard says she has images proving either that she had “a secret fight club or that I have been plotting to do this for three years while taking pictures of this and documenting, just saving it up, for the right time when I’m asking for no money and have nothing financial to gain from it. No one is going to believe that. ... What’s the alternative?”

Heard also tells Depp that she had been called a “gold digger” and a “liar.” He responds by telling her he hadn't called her that.

On Monday, an emotional Heard said she had never wanted to be framed as a victim and never intended to go to the police. She said she asked for one thing from Depp: for him not to call her a liar.

"I didn't want this to go to a prosecutor. I didn't want this to hurt Johnny. I don't want this to hurt Johnny," Heard said of why she never filed criminal charges and never went to the police over her allegations of domestic abuse.

Heard said Depp called her a liar in the media and was “forcing” her to prove she wasn’t lying. Depp threatened to "ruin" her and said no one would ever work with her again, Heard said.

"I would be selling Depends [the adult diaper] is what he said and that he'd ruin my career," Heard recalled.

Depp has repeatedly called her a liar, she said. She said she told Depp that photos, witnesses and testimony documented the allegedly abusive relationship.

She said that she didn't want to hurt Depp but that he had, in essence, pushed her into a corner and tried to take the only thing she believed she had left.

"All I have is my integrity," she said. "All I have is my name, and that's what he agreed to take from me."

139d ago / 6:29 PM UTC

Heard accuses Depp's team of planting nasty stories about her

Heard testified that she broke the temporary restraining order she filed for in May 2016 to get Depp's team to leave her alone in the media.

She accused Depp's team of planting negative stories about her in a "smear campaign" after she filed for the order and a divorce. Heard testified that she had conversations directly with Depp about the situation.

"He told me he would tell his team to back off ... effectively if I agree to do certain things, one of which, he wanted me to, like, drop charges ... or some version of that," Heard said. "He wanted me to get back together with him and on tour with him. ... He wanted me to do certain things that I thought were impossible and that would certainly go against everything that I stood for and had earned."

She went on to say she didn't care about Depp's money, which is why she chose to donate the money from her divorce settlement, but that she wanted to stop being called a liar.

"I said this to him, too, you know. He knew this," Heard said. "All I have is my name. I come from nothing. All I have is my integrity. All I have is my name, and that's exactly what he promised to take from me."

She said she paused her donations to the American Civil Liberties Union and Children's Hospital of Los Angeles because Depp filed the $50 million suit against her. Heard said she intends to resume donations in the future.

"I never made a false claim, and I didn't do it for financial gain," Heard said. "And that's what I was being called at the time, a gold digger and a liar."

139d ago / 4:52 PM UTC

Court adjourns for lunch

The trial adjourned just after 12:30 p.m. ET for an hourlong recess, so the parties could break for lunch.

139d ago / 4:52 PM UTC

Heard describes makeup products she used as a 'bruise kit'

While discussing how she used to cover bruises after Depp's alleged attacks, Heard clarified what makeup products she used.

During opening statements, Heard's attorney held up a Milani Cosmetics color-correcting palette, saying her client used it to help hide bruising while she was being abused by her former husband.

But Milani Cosmetics refuted that statement online, saying its Conceal + Perfect All-in-One Correcting Kit was not released until December 2017 — more than a year after Heard filed for a temporary restraining order. Depp supporters online used the issue to allege that Heard was lying about being abused during her relationship with Depp.

While on the witness stand Monday, Heard was shown the palette and said she used something similar to it.

"This is what I was talking about as a color correction kit," Heard said. "This is not, obviously, the exact one I used to carry, but I used to carry with me all the time."

Heard told the court she used to refer to the makeup as her "bruise kit," using a theater makeup kit to hide her injuries. She explained that she'd immediately ice her injuries to reduce swelling, apply arnica cream and then put makeup on.

"The idea is that you want to counteract whatever color you're working with on the bruise," Heard said. "So first day of bruising, well the immediate is red. The red is what shows up right away. So you want to go with the opposite on the color wheel by dabbing on a bit of the green or something to counteract the red."

139d ago / 4:36 PM UTC

'I wouldn’t survive': Heard describes why she filed for divorce

While on the stand, Heard was asked about the end of her relationship and why she filed for divorce. Heard described trying to save her relationship before making the decision to get a divorce from Depp.

She said she went to Alcoholics Anonymous, read books, went to therapy and made other attempts to resolve the issues in the couple's relationship. However, she said eventually she felt left with no choice but to dissolve the marriage.

"I knew I wouldn't survive it if I didn't, so I filed for divorce," she said, later adding, "I knew if I didn't, I'd likely not literally survive."

Heard said the stress of her marriage had led to her losing hair and experiencing panic attacks.

"The person I was scared of was also the person I was in love with," Heard said, becoming emotional as she described how the alleged violence had become the norm "not the exception" in her relationship with Depp.

Heard said she didn't want to leave Depp — something she had described earlier this month during her testimony — but she feared for her safety.

"I really didn’t want to leave him. I loved him so much, but I couldn’t do that one thing," she said. "I couldn’t stay."

139d ago / 4:22 PM UTC

Heard on lack of cooperation with police: 'I wanted to protect Johnny'

After the May 2016 fight that led Heard to file for a temporary restraining order, police arrived to the former couple's penthouse apartment.

But when officers arrived following the fight, Heard told the court she didn't name Depp and did not want to give police a statement as to her injuries. She feared that the officers might arrest Depp.

"I didn’t want this to come out," Heard said. "I didn’t want him to be in trouble. I wanted to protect Johnny."

Heard said on the stand that she did not call 911. Depp's legal team objected to her speculation as to who might have called police to the scene.

The officers were there for maybe less than 30 minutes, Heard said, but left business cards with her in case she changed her mind about giving them a statement.

Heard’s attorneys showed numerous photos while she testified of damage that Depp allegedly caused in rage from the fight, including photos taken of bruising on Heard’s face and damage to the apartment.

139d ago / 4:01 PM UTC

Heard accuses Depp of mistreating her trans friend

During her testimony, Heard recalled an instance where she claimed Depp called her friend homophobic and transphobic slurs.

After calling iO Tillett Wright, a close friend of Heard's, during a fight with Depp, Heard claimed that Depp grabbed her phone and began screaming at Wright, calling him slurs. Wright is a transgender man and uses he/him pronouns.

"[Depp was] telling iO that he can have me ... screaming at him," Heard said.

While on speakerphone in earshot of Depp, Wright told Heard she was not safe, Heard said.

Depp left the room, Heard said. But after hearing what Wright said, he returned to yell at Wright on the phone, according to Heard.

He began screaming at Wright "every imaginable horrible name that you can say to an LGBTQIA person, for one, and any human being, ever," she told the court.

Heard alleged Depp threw the phone at her face.

Depp, when speaking about Wright during his testimony, repeatedly misgendered him, saying Wright was "born a female, if that’s the right terminology these days, born a female, but she had chosen, she at a very young age, she had decided that she was, she was a male, and she identified as a male."

139d ago / 3:43 PM UTC

Depp's accusation of feces in the bed led to one of final assaults, Heard says

Heard testified that one of the last fights she had with Depp, the assault that led her to file for a temporary restraining order, was over his accusations that she left human feces in their bed.

Depp previously testified that he believed Heard left excrement in their bed before she left for Coachella in April 2016 after they had a disagreement and as they separated for about a month. Heard said the feces belonged to one of their dogs, who had longstanding health and bowel control issues.

The couple met again in May after Depp's mother died because Depp called and said he needed her, Heard testified. Depp previously testified that he called to inform her about his mother's death and his desire for a divorce, but that Heard asked to speak in person.

When Depp showed up, Heard said, he resumed his accusations that she and her friends attempted to "prank" him with the feces.

"I tried to point out how that didn't make sense. ... My friends wouldn't do that," Heard said. "That's not something a bunch of 30-year-old women think is funny. What is he talking about? And he just kept going on and on about it."

Heard said she texted her friend and then got on a call with another friend, iO Tillett Wright, to "quell" what she thought was a delusion from Depp. During the call, Heard said Depp began yelling at Wright.

Depp then tossed her phone and went upstairs, according to Heard. Heard said she apologized to her friend. Wright then asked Heard to leave, saying she wasn't safe in the home with Depp.

Heard told the court that Depp returned and began screaming, eventually grabbing her phone and throwing it at her face. He taunted her as she cried on the couch, Heard said, then grabbed her by the head.

"I don't know if he was intending to hit me in the face or if he was just trying to grab my face, but he was making this gesture around my face. ... He said like, 'Yeah, let me see how bad I hurt you this time,'" Heard said.

At some point during this, Heard testified that her friend, Raquel, who lived in a neighboring apartment, ran in and wedged herself between the couple. She then tried to calm Depp as Heard went into a corner, according to Heard.

"He hit both of her arms ... and barreled towards me," Heard said. "I instinctively curl up on the couch, and I just feel her arms come around me."

Heard testified that Depp continued to scream at the two women until his security came in to intervene.

Depp denied attacking Heard during his testimony weeks prior, saying he grabbed the phone and tossed it onto the couch in the apartment before walking away from Heard.

139d ago / 2:37 PM UTC

Heard addresses viral audio in which she says she hit Depp

Prior to the trial, an audio clip of Heard saying she hit Depp went viral after it was released.

Some on social media have pointed to the clip as a smoking gun in the trial, saying it shows Heard was violent with Depp.

On Monday, Heard was asked to address the clip while she was on the stand.

In the clip, Depp and Heard argue about Heard allegedly hitting Depp. "I was hitting you. I was not punching you. Babe, you're not punched," Heard says on the tape.

Depp responds, "Don't tell me what it feels like to be punched."

Heard tells Depp on the tape that he's "been around a long time" and knows what it feels like to be sincerely punched. Depp accuses Heard on the tape of punching him with a closed fist.

"You're fine," Heard says. "I did not hurt you. I did not punch you. I was hitting you."

Heard admits on the tape to starting the physical fight and says Depp did the right thing by leaving the room.

When asked to explain what was happening in the clip, Heard told the jury she's referencing "the disparity" of the couple's physicality in their physical fights. Heard accused Depp of "proactively" punching her, and Heard said she would have to "reactively hit him."

On the stand, Heard said the incident referenced in the video is a time when Heard attempted to barricade herself in a bedroom and Depp tried to break in. She alleged that she hit Depp in an attempt to get Depp out.

“I hit his arms, his body as he was trying to prevent me from closing the door,” she said. “I knew what he would do to me when he got to the other side.”

The phrase "reactive abuse" has gained popularity over the course of the Depp-Heard trial. Psychologist Betsy Usher, who specializes in treating abuse and trauma, recently told NBC News that reacting to abuse in self-defense can include name-calling, physically pushing back and other emotional outbursts. Other experts dispute theories of "mutual abuse," saying there is always a "primary aggressor."

Heard alleged that Depp would punch her while she hit him in her defense.

“Even if he wasn’t twice my size, they’re very different [actions], and that’s what I’m pointing out to him,” Heard said.

139d ago / 2:25 PM UTC

Audio played during trial suggests Heard asked Depp to stop recording her

Heard's attorney played a recording from July 2015, in which Heard asks Depp to stop recording her without her knowledge.

The audio appeared to have been recorded by Depp. In the brief clip, Heard tells Depp that recording her is "secretive" and "deceitful."

"You had trouble with me before when you said to me that you didn't feel like you were told I was recording you," Heard said. "So please stop. Please stop."

Depp makes an inaudible comment before loudly replying, telling Heard to acknowledge "what I'm saying before you keep make demands."

"You are not a schoolteacher. Shut the f--- up. Listen to me, and then you can f------ respond. Understand?" he said. "You ain't nobody's f------ mom. You ain't no schoolteacher. Don't pretend to be f------ authoritative with me. You don't f------ exist."

On the stand, Heard said the tapes were about whether it was OK for the couple to record one another without consent. Heard said Depp told her that he no longer required her permission to record her without her knowledge.

139d ago / 2:03 PM UTC

Depp would injure himself during arguments, Heard says

Heard told the court that during arguments, her former husband would sometimes create self-inflicted injuries while screaming at her.

This included burning himself with cigarettes, Heard said, which contradicts Depp's previous testimony that Heard put out a cigarette on his face.

"I almost called 911 in New York in August of 2014," Heard said. "I believe because I thought he had done himself an injury. In fights he often would cut his arms or hold his knife to his chest or draw blood superficially at first, but later in 2016 as our relationship was ending ... oh, he also put cigarettes out on himself."

Heard told the court that he would be in front of her, screaming in her face, when he'd put a cigarette out on his own cheek.

During cross-examination of Depp earlier in the trial, Heard's legal team attempted to undermine Depp's accusations that Heard severed his finger after throwing a vodka bottle at him. They spotlighted language he used in which he said he cut his finger off.

Depp testified that it was only a manner of speaking, a simpler turn of phrase than rehashing the cause of the injury in messages.

139d ago / 1:52 PM UTC

Depp attacked Heard during fight while honeymooning, she alleges

While Depp and Heard were honeymooning on a train in South Asia, Heard told the court that her then-husband assaulted her in their sleeper car.

Heard and Depp took their honeymoon in summer 2015, after Depp finished filming a "Pirates of the Caribbean" film, she said. This happened after Depp's finger was severed in Australia and a period of sobriety for him, according to her testimony.

Depp and Heard argued on the last night of their time on the Orient Express train journey, because Depp wanted her "permission" to break his sobriety. She testified that he had already been drinking "brown liquor" that night.

She alleged that he slapped her in their compartment and then held her by her neck.

"It was a small narrow sleeper car, and there were two beds, one on each side," Heard said. "He had me up against the wall while he's standing on the floor in between the beds, and I was on the bed kind of half kneeling, half standing, trying to get his arms off my neck. And he was squeezing my neck against the railway car for what felt like a very long time."

She said she recalled being scared that Depp would kill her accidentally. Heard wrote about the incident in her diary the next morning, she said.

139d ago / 1:25 PM UTC

Amber Heard adjusts prior testimony, says abuse started earlier

Heard spent her first few minutes on the witness stand Monday by adjusting her testimony, telling the court that the alleged abuse from Depp began earlier than she previously recalled.

"I'm embarrassed to say I think I would have liked to believe that the period of time in which I fell in love with Johnny, in which we fell in love and he was sober and he wasn't violent to me, lasted longer than it did," Heard said.

She said following a review of therapy notes, she recalled earlier moments of alleged abuse that dated back as early as 2012 rather than 2013.

When asked by her attorney why she didn't recall these moments earlier, Heard said, "That's not how my memory works."

"You know, we were together for five years, almost four and a half," Heard said. "And it was very chaotic at times — a very loving, emotional relationship. So as anyone can imagine, there was a lot going on, and unfortunately the violence became normal."

139d ago / 1:13 PM UTC

Depp, Heard arrive at the courthouse to very different receptions

Amber Heard and Johnny Depp arrived at the courthouse Monday morning after a weeklong hiatus.

Heard arrived at the Fairfax, Virginia, courthouse first. A crowd outside the courthouse appeared to boo and jeer the actor as she made her way inside.

A few moments later, Depp arrived. As he exited a black SUV, the crowd roared with what appeared to be cheers. Some called Depp's name, and the cheering grew louder as the actor waved to those who seemed to gather to support him.

Depp turned to a camera as he walked into the courthouse, seemingly joking that those outside the courthouse were "all relatives" of his.

139d ago / 1:13 PM UTC

Notable moments from Amber Heard's testimony

Heard spent two days on the witness stand before the court took a weeklong break. She recounted the early days of her romance with Johnny Depp and how the relationship changed over time.

In her retelling, Heard said their relationship changed after Depp broke his sobriety following a period of abstaining from alcohol. She described him as jealous, often accusing her of having affairs.

Heard told the court that Depp’s alleged assaults would coincide with his drug and alcohol abuse. He has previously testified refuting the idea that he was ever “out of control” while inebriated.

In one instance, she said she was head-butted and repeatedly punched in the face by Depp in an attack she believed was going to end in death.

“He was just pummeling me,” she said, describing Depp on top of her in the alleged attack. “I thought: ‘This his is how I die. He’s going to kill me now. He’s going to kill me, and he won’t even have realized it.’”

Read the full story here.

140d ago / 11:13 AM UTC

How Depp has spent the break

During the more than a week off in the defamation trial, Johnny Depp was "in Europe taking some time to rest for a few days, hang out with old friends, playing music," a representative for the actor told NBC News.

140d ago / 11:13 AM UTC

YouTube creators are pivoting their videos to Depp v. Heard content and raking in millions of views

Jacob, 15, was making YouTube videos about the video game “Elden Ring” when, he said, a video about a different topic — the trial in actor Johnny Depp’s defamation suit against his ex-wife Amber Heard — popped up in the platform’s recommended video feed. 

Jacob, who spoke on the condition that his last name be withheld for privacy reasons, said he noticed that the video had millions of views but that the channel it came from had “barely any subscribers.” Jacob’s own videos were getting only a few hundred views at the time, so he decided to try to make a video about the celebrity defamation case, instead. 

Within a week, Jacob’s new content — often short compilations of clips from the trial set to royalty-free music — had over 10 million views.

Few, if any, other topics have captivated social media like the Depp-Heard trial. Since it started last month, content about the trial has seemed to become unavoidable on YouTube, Instagram, TikTok and other major platforms. That attention has in turn attracted content creators of all stripes who are riding high on a potent combination of viewer interest and algorithmic boosts.

A wide variety of creators — from makeup artists, comedians and true crime podcasters to K-pop fans, musicians and movie reviewers — have pivoted to covering the Depp trial. Six creators, including Jacob, said in interviews that the pivot allowed them to reach audiences of millions on YouTube and TikTok.

Read the full story here.

140d ago / 11:13 AM UTC

Amber Heard-Johnny Depp trial memes could have ‘a chilling effect’ on victims of domestic abuse, expert says

As a survivor of domestic abuse, Ruth M. Glenn said watching the Amber Heard-Johnny Depp defamation case has been triggering.

It’s not that she believes one side over the other. It’s more that the inescapable memes and jokes on social media emanating from the trial have exacerbated the trauma of surviving abuse to another level.

Hashtags like “AmberHeardIsAPsycho” or “AmberHeardIsALiar” have racked up billions of views on TikTok and Twitter. Even searching content that appears to be pro-Heard, like the hashtag “IBelieveAmberHeard,” typically yields videos and posts maligning the actor. 

“I can’t imagine what this might be doing to someone who may eventually want to seek safety and support,” Glenn said. “Whether it’s Amber Heard or Johnny Depp, how dare us make fun and make light of someone who is sharing something very personal — no matter how we feel about that person.”

Read the full story here.

140d ago / 11:13 AM UTC