Johnny Depp: How the actor’s behaviour at the Amber Heard trial has gone viral

Depp is due to take the stand again on Monday (23 May)

Annabel Nugent
Tuesday 24 May 2022 10:33 BST
Johnny Depp laughs in court as nurse questioned over explicit note about his penis

Johnny Depp is due to take the stand once again this week in his ongoing defamation trial against ex-wife Amber Heard.

Over two weeks after last appearing on the stand, Depp will be called by the defence as a witness on Monday (23 May). He will be the third witness, following on from an anatomy expert and an Intimate Partner Violence expert.

Depp is suing Heard for $50m (£38.2m). He alleges that Heard implied that he abused her in a 2018 Washington Post op-ed about domestic violence.

Heard is countersuing for $100m (£80.9m), accusing Depp of orchestrating a “smear campaign” against her and describing his lawsuit as a continuation of “abuse and harassment”.

Since the trial – which is underway in Fairfax County, Virginia – began on 11 April, supporters of Depp have been circulating their favourite moments from the courtroom on social media platforms.

The hashtag #teamjohnnydepp has nearly 80 million views on TikTok.

In one viral clip shared to Twitter, Depp can be seen in his car near the courthouse when a fan tells him: “You’ll always be our Captain Jack Sparrow!”

The actor delighted onlookers by responding in the voice of his Pirates of the Caribbean character, replying: “He’s still around somewhere. I see him now and again. He shows up now and again.”

Last week, in another moment that went viral online, Depp joked that he made waffles for his fans as he arrived at the courthouse.

On Thursday (19 May), before court proceedings began for the day, Depp greeted his cheering supporters outside the courtroom and commented that he had made “breakfast for all of them”.

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“Waffles,” Mr Depp quipped, when he was asked what he had prepared. Fans pointed out that the actor was joking.

A clip of Depp laughing while a witness is asked about whether or not he saw the actor’s genitals during an alleged incident has been widely circulated.

Among the trial-related content on TikTok are multiple videos dedicated to unsubstantiated online rumours of a romantic relationship between Depp and his lawyer Camille Vasquez.

One video, set to the sentimental song “Sanctuary” by Joji and edited with a pink-hued filter, has been watched more than 3.5 million times. The clip is captioned: “Srsly, am i the only one who ships them?”

Vasquez previously laughed and shook her head in response to one paparazzo who asked her about the rumours of a relationship outside the courthouse.

Body language experts have suggested that the frequent touches and hugs between Depp and Vasquez have been engineered to make Depp appear softer and more likeable  to viewers.

Vasquez herself has accumulated huge fame on social media, with the hashtag of #camillevasquez gaining more than 980 million TikTok impressions. One video shared last week of the lawyer’s quick objections has received 33.3 million views and 6.1 million likes.

Other TikTok videos have compared Vasquez to Rachel Zane, Meghan Markle’s character in the hit legal drama drama Suits.

In another moment, Depp elicited laughter from the gallery when he quipped that every hour is “happy hour” and recalled doing drugs with Marilyn Manson.

A majority of videos circulating on social media are in praise of Depp’s behaviour during the trial, but others have criticised the star as being glib and unforthcoming.

Many people have also taken issue with the nature of the fan engagement concerning a defamation trial that involves serious accusations of domestic violence.

Some fans criticised 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.

One Independent writer said: “It’s become too easy for us to feel so remote and so distant, protected by the glow of our computer screens, that many of us seem to have forgotten one crucial thing about being human: our empathy.”

“I think we all need to look closely at ourselves and decide if what we’re laughing at is really that amusing,” they wrote.

Elsewhere, another writer for The Independent condemned the “unbearable memeification” of the trial, writing about some of the “truly bizarre theories” that have been promoted on TikTok.

“The process through which we digest other people’s torment and cough it back up in the form of memes is a complete void of empathy. This is a trial, not the Super Bowl or the Met Gala,” they wrote.

Follow live updates of the trial here.

Over the weekend, Courtney Love spoke out in support of Depp, claiming that he once saved her life with CPR after she overdosed outside the Viper Club Room in Los Angeles, in 1995.

The dispute between Depp and Heard has prompted reactions from a number of high profile celebrities. Here’s a rundown of the celebrities who have voiced their support for Heard, while here’s a list of the celebrities who have thrown support behind Depp.

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