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Explosion of ‘icky’ merchandise around Johnny Depp v Amber Heard trial condemned by fans

‘Something about people making literal merch pertaining to Amber Heard v Johnny Depp is very, very, VERY uncomfy to me,’ one person said

Maanya Sachdeva
Tuesday 26 April 2022 07:06 BST
Johnny Depp says Amber Heard ‘grossly embellished’ his substance abuse

The trial of Johnny Depp and Amber Heard will resume on Monday (25 April) after Depp was cross-examined by Heard’s lawyers last week.

The Pirates of the Caribbean actor is suing Heard, who divorced Depp in 2016, for defamation over a 2018 op-ed in which she implied he had abused her. Depp is seeking $50m (£39m) in damages over The Washington Post column which, he alleges, impacted his Hollywood career directly.

Heard, in turn, has filed a counterclaim, accusing Depp of allegedly orchestrating a “smear campaign” against her and describing his own lawsuit as a continuation of “abuse and harassment”. She has asked for $100m (£78m) in damages, as well as immunity from Depp’s claims.

Depp has testified about a traumatic childhood with an abusive mother, claiming that his relationship with Heard mirrored that, and also accusing her of “bullying” him.

The high-profile trial, currently being live-streamed on Court TV, has garnered significant attention on social media since it began on Tuesday (19 April).

Some people have condemned the sale of “icky” merchandise around the trial, including t-shirts, stickers, mugs, and even throw blankets with quotes from Depp’s testimony and anti-Heard statements written on them.

Melbourne-based online storefront Redbubble, which stocks designs from independent creatives, currently returns 106 results for “Johnny Depp trial” products. These include t-shirts printed with the words “Justice for Johnny” and “Fck Amber” in multiple colour and style options.

Screenshot of Redbubble’s storefront selling Johnny Depp trial merchandise (Redbubble)

CoolPopTees is currently selling a “Team Johnny Depp” t-shirt, which the actor’s fans have been spotted wearing outside Fairfax County Courthouse where the defamation trial is underway.

Meanwhile, Urban Dictionary’s e-commerce platform is selling a $33 (£26) “Amber Heard” mug, printed with one of the descriptions of the actor which calls her “an actress that can’t even act and is known best for divorcing Johnny Depp and then lying about her relationship with him to the media”.

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This mug is available in nine colours, and has over 180 reviews online.

Urban Dictionary is selling slanderous ‘Amber Heard’ mugs for $33 (Urban Dictionary)

Fans on Twitter have criticised the sale of merchandise around the trial as “tone deaf” and “weird”, with one user calling it “icky”.

“Something about people making literal merch pertaining to Amber Heard vsJohnny Depp is very very VERY uncomfy to me,” another person tweeted.

The Independent has reached out to Redbubble for comment.

There has been similar backlash to the “insane” nature of online disucssion surrounding the domestic abuse trial, including Depp’s responses to Heard’s lawyer Ben Rottenborn during cross-examination.

“The meme-ification of Johnny Depp and Amber Heard’s trial that centres [around] intimate partner violence is... concerning,” one Twitter user commented.

“I just came across a TikTok of someone making and SELLING tshirts of Johnny Depp and quotes from the current trial happening. I can not BEGIN to describe why this is incredibly inappropriate and disrespectful, from the perspective of not just either but BOTH sides,” another fan wrote, calling the social media frenzy around the trial “horrendous”.

With the trial set to enter its third week on Monday (25 April), there is speculation over who will testify after Depp.

Tesla boss Elon Musk and actor James Franco are both listed as potential witnesses for Heard, with both of them scheduled to appear via video conference if called to the stand.

Follow live updates from the trial here.

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