Johnny Depp v Amber Heard trial receives more online attention than fight for abortion rights

Defamation trial is ongoing in Virginia

Amber Heard says she agreed to op-ed as she wanted to lend her voice 'great cause'
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The Johnny Depp v Amber Heard trial has received more online attention than the fight for abortion rights in the US, data shows.

According to data from NewsWhip, a social media monitoring company, published by Axios on Tuesday (17 May), news articles about the defamation trial have generated more interactions on social media than articles about the Supreme Court and reproductive rights.

Social media interactions are defined in this context as likes, comments, and shares, per Axios.

According to the data, between 4 April and 16 May, articles about the Depp v Heard trial received on average 508 social media interactions each, while articles about abortion received 141.

Google Trends, a tool that makes it possible to track search interest for various words over time, shows that search terms related to the trial have generally received more interest than search terms related to abortion rights, according to searches conducted by The Independent.

An exception can be noticed across the board around 3 May, which is when Politico published an initial draft majority opinion by Justice Samuel Alito, according to which the Supreme Court would overturn Roe v Wade, the landmark decision protecting people’s right to get abortions.

The search terms “Amber Heard” and “Johnny Depp” were getting more interest than “Roe v Wade” beginning around 12 April, which is when the Depp v Heard trial started. (Jury selection took place on 11 April).

“Roe v Wade” topped both search terms on 3 May. By 5 May, “Amber Heard” and “Johnny Depp” were once again getting more search interest. That has remained the case since.

A similar patttern applies when comparing search interest for “Amber Heard” and “Johnny Depp” to “abortion”, “Roe”, and “Wade”.

Mr Depp has sued Ms Heard for alleged defamation over an op-ed she wrote in 2018 for The Washington Post, in which she describes herself as “a public figure representing domestic abuse”.

“The op-ed depended on the central premise that Ms Heard was a domestic abuse victim and that Mr Depp perpetrated domestic violence against her,” Mr Depp’s complaint alleges in part, calling the claim of domestic abuse “categorically and demonstrably false”.

He has asked for $50m in damages.

Ms Heard has counter-sued Mr Depp, accusing him 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 in damages.

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