Actor Johnny Depp is suing ex-wife Amber Heard for $50 million, and some of Twitch and YouTube’s biggest stars are stooping low and turning Depp’s trauma into a profit.
On April 11, 2022, the defamation trial between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard began, with both parties appearing in court. Depp was suing Amber Heard for an allegedly defamatory article she had written for the Washington Post in 2018. The article claimed she has been the victim of domestic violence, and while it did not mention Depp by name, he claims the piece has caused irreparable damage to his career and public image.
Heard is countersuing for $100 million and claims she was the victim of domestic abuse during her marriage to Johnny Depp. The trial has spanned the better half of April, and each new day is filled with emotional stories and retellings of traumatic events that the internet has had a veritable hay day turning into content.
Viral clips of Depp’s “most savage” moments have been edited and shoved into compilations set to the Nintendo Mii Theme. This disturbing case dives deep into emotional and physical abuse, self-harm, and abuse of substances; but Twitch and YouTube stars are turning it into a lighthearted react fest that’s quickly becoming a new meta.
Johnny Depp’s trial is not for your enjoyment
The Depp vs Heard trial is a very public case, but make no mistake – it’s not meant for your enjoyment. This isn’t the latest installment of Pirates of the Caribbean. We aren’t witnessing Gilbert Grape come of age.
Yet, it seems as if the internet is treating this real trial like another movie starring Depp and his estranged wife, when in reality, both parties are having to relive the most traumatic parts of their very toxic relationship. Not for the public to enjoy, but to plead their case to a judge.
It is important for this case to be public. If the court sides with Depp, it proves that the law can protect innocent people against false accusations. It also provides a platform for Depp’s reputation to be repaired.
The issue is not so much that it’s being watched – it’s how it’s being watched. The Depp vs Heard case is a monumental one, and it is very important that it is viewed with respect and an air of seriousness. But internet personalities are making this ordeal feel like a lighthearted affair.
React Andys, leave the Depp case alone
Reacting has been a controversial form of content for as long as internet personalities have been around. Some people genuinely enjoy watching their favorite creators react other people’s content, while others feel it’s a lazy avenue for generating views.
At its core, reacting is a harmless form of content. But regarding Depp’s defamation trial, it feels weird, unnerving, and even disgusting. It’s also important to mention that how creators react to the case will skew how it’s perceived by their audiences.
The issue with content creators using the case is multi-faceted. They react to the trial for a large portion, if not the entirety of their stream, use clips from the stream to multiple videos, and make absurd titles to generate more views.
Some of the largest channels on Twitch/YouTube are conducting the Johnny Depp trial content train. With video titles such as “This trial is INSANE”, “Amber Heard gets WRECKED”, and “Depp trial is a disaster…” it’s hard to take their perspective on the case seriously.
Depp vs Heard isn’t the Super Bowl
Depp vs Heard is being treated as a sporting event, and these big streamers are all on Team Depp. They’re spending hours at a time laughing and reacting to viral clips while trial poking fun at Heard’s legal team.
Reacting to the trial in this manner makes it seem as if the streamer has picked a side. But this isn’t a game of football. The losing team at the end of this doesn’t get to shake off the loss and come back next season.
If Depp wins, there are serious legal repercussions that Heard will have to face beyond a $50 million suit. Depp even claims that, regardless of the outcome, his appearance to the public has already been ruined and he can never come back from that 100%.
Streamers need to stop capitalizing on this case. Your opinions and analysis don’t matter and have no effect on the outcome of the trial. But live streaming metas aren’t known for taking the moral high ground.
Depp’s trial has become an unsettling “Twitch Meta”
The argument can be made that streamers reacting to the trial are bringing more eyes to the case, and as previously mentioned, this case should be watched. But seeing the hundreds and thousands of views each YouTube video and Twitch stream gets is breeding a disturbing meta on Twitch.
Reacting and watching this case on stream has proven to generate a massive amount of views, so much so that streamers are starting to put “JOHNNY DEPP VS AMBER HEARD trial” in their stream titles, regardless of the content of their stream.
Other streamers are simply putting “Johnny Depp” in their titles just to attract curious eyes. It’s made even more apparent that the trial is being used for views when massive streamers spend hours “catching up” on a case they showed no interest in prior.
This trial, bathed in trauma that should be treated with respect, has been violated by the Twitch community and turned into the latest meta. Depp and Heard’s experiences are not a meta, and it most certainly should not be treated like one.